The True Cancer Bodies photo series is here to highlight the reality of cancer

A new photo series campaign has been created to highlight the ‘real face’ of cancer.

True Cancer Bodies is headed by Vicky Saynor, a mother of four who was diagnosed with a Grade 3 stage 1 Breast Cancer in November 2018. She found a lump high on her breast after learning how to examine herself on the Coppafeel website after hearing the story of a young woman passing away from breast cancer in her twenties because she wasn’t diagnosed early enough.

Shortly after surgery, just one month later, she started a blog on Instagram and Facebook to ‘show the true face of cancer’ and quickly amassed over 4,000 followers.

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GAMMY TIT I’ve gained quite a lot of new followers 👋 mainly because of @truecancerbodies (thank you for your support), so I wanted to just remind you all why I’m here ☺️ // Last year in July, shortly after getting married, I started to properly check my boobs. When I say ‘properly’ this is very important…. boob checking is from armpit to collarbone to bottom of breast tissue and back across to armpit. My lump was between the top of my breast and collarbone, and many have been shocked by that. Including me! Before ‘proper’ checking, I just randomly gave my soft breast tissue a squidge and that was pretty much it. Finding the charity @coppafeelpeople and learning the checking method meant I found my lump, hopefully a better outcome for me, immediate treatment and hopefully a better prognosis. The type of tumour I had, left unchecked for even another six months, would have resulted in a drastically different outcome for me and my family // I am a True Cancer Body. Early detection for ANY cancer is key. It’s not an exact science – I know that! But please get checking your breasts regularly; get anything you feel or see has changed in your body checked; go for your smear!; @coppafeelpeople offer monthly FREE text reminders. There’s no excuse … please don’t think it won’t happen to you! // If you’ve been affected by any cancer our @truecancerbodies community is welcoming and safe. Male, female, parents of children with cancer, any background, we’d love to hear from you! We’re currently focusing on gynae cancer throughout May, with the help of @eveappeal. In June we’re focusing on Men & Cancer. I’d love to get more men involved, and ultimately see better representation of men with cancer in the media. If you can help with this in any way please let me know! // Happy Boob and Body checking Sunday! Xx #coppafeel #checkyourboobs #checkyourballs #fuckcancer #chemohead #chemotherapy #bodyaware #truecancerbodies #boobs #eveappeal

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But earlier this year, after seeing a breast cancer campaign that enlisted celebrities and models as spokespeople and used hashtags such as ‘two is better than one’, she launched True Cancer Bodies as a way of authentically representing those living with cancer.

She explained: ‘Although always well-meaning, the use of glossy celebrities and happy, smiling models in cancer campaigns, just did not reflect the reality of what we, the cancer patients, and our families have to endure.’

The photo series captures 38 ‘true cancer bodies’ from across the UK, aged between 26 and 57, representing 10 different cancers from breast to bowel, multiple myeloma to Ewing’s sarcoma and it offers a safe space for people to tell their stories, speak their mind and get much needed support.

true cancer bodies

Credit: The Voyage UK

The aim is to show the real face of cancer in a way that isn’t ‘happy, fluffly, pink’, and the campaign’s Instagram page alone had over 8,000 views in the first week.

true cancer bodies

Credit: The Voyage UK

True Cancer Bodies is now collaborating with cancer charities to help raise the awareness of specific cancers every month, and the community has quickly evolved and includes over 25 different cancers, with people ranging in age from just 6 years old up to 79 years old.

Vicky said: ‘The prognosis of so many cancer cases could be better if the population’s awareness was improved.

‘We strongly feel that the best way to do this is by showing what cancer really looks like – the bald heads, the scars, the mastectomies.

‘A picture of a 35-year-old women with a stoma bag is the real face of cancer, and is exactly what is needed to be shared to increase awareness of early detection techniques.’

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