There are various ways in which breast cancer can manifest in patients, depending on factors such as the type of cancer or how advanced the condition is. A new breast cancer awareness campaign explains the physical characteristics of breast cancer, in an attempt to build exposure and get women to consult medical opinions as fast and frequently as possible.
From dimpled skin, to a lump or leaking fluid, breast cancer can manifest in various ways from the beginning. And while breasts can be very different, some of these characteristics could be shared among women who have the condition. According to the campaign, any change in the area could constitute a silent signal, and women who observe the slightest modification should consult a doctor.
Lemon-Aid In Identifying Breast Cancer
The image, viral on social media, belongs to a small nonprofit organization, Worldwide Breast Cancer, whose founder tried to find a visually suggestive way to show the physical symptoms of breast cancer without being censored by social media rules or frowned upon. While textual descriptions of the disease can help in promoting the messages, an image is always more powerful, as people tend to relate more to visual content.
Corinne Beaumont, who initiated the campaign, has a Ph.D. in graphic design, and the research she conducted previous to this campaign suggested that people pay more attention to graphic explanations rather than textual ones, as they can instantly visualize the manifestation of the disease, without having to imagine it or wonder whether their breasts are normal or not.
Many times, a public awareness campaign is difficult to conduct when it comes to breast cancer, due to two main associations which rather repel people instead of sparking interest, or change their interest from the main topic to a psychological connection, which can be either a sexual connotation or death.
"These materials remove the "sex" and "death" from the message of breast cancer through using a visual metaphor of a lemon to represent the breast. Because it is similar in appearance but separate from the body, it can be a powerful tool for illustrating signs of breast cancer in a very specific way, while avoiding censorship. This is a completely new way of educating the public about breast cancer, which makes it possible to reach more people than ever before. It also reaches those who may have difficulties with reading or are embarrassed about the topic," she noted on the website.
Breast Cancer – A Major Health Issue
While both women and men can suffer from breast cancer, according to CDC statistics, the disease is the most spread type of cancer among women in the United States, regardless of age or ethnicity, as well as the most common cause of death among Hispanic women.
The most recent statistics regarding how widespread breast cancer is in the United States are from 2013, when 230,815 women and 2,109 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer, while 40,860 women and 464 men in the United States died from breast cancer.
While, generally, from 2003 to 2012 breast cancer levels stagnated among women in the United States, it did increase by 0.8 percent among black women, and by 1.1 percent among Asian/ Pacific Islander women, which further raises concerns on the disease.