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.
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.
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 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.’