A breast cancer awareness campaign using lemons to show symptoms has gone viral.
Young designer Corrine Beaumont’s campaign ‘Know Your Lemons' uses a simple, visual way of showing what breast cancer symptoms can look and feel like. The campaign urges women to go and see their doctor if they notice any of 12 changes to their breasts, ranging from growing veins to retracted nipples and indentation.
Using an egg box of lemons, Beaumont seeks to help women overcome their fear of the disease and raise awareness. "Some patients don't want to talk about breasts or look at them," she says. "Often women used in campaigns don't look like ordinary women - but even those with little literacy can understand this."
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Her campaign has been shared more than 32,000 times on Facebook in the past few days. Translated into 16 different languages, it has been used to educate people in the US, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon.
Although 'Know Your Lemons' was started in 2003, this year's campaign image of lemons struck a chord, after it was shared on social media by Erin Smith Chieze.
Chieze was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer after recognising she had an indentation in her breast, all thanks to a similar image from Beaumont’s campaign showing what breast cancer could look like. "Without having seen a picture randomly with real information, I wouldn't have known what to look for," Erin posted.
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Beaumont lost both her grandmothers to breast cancer at the ages of 40 and 62. She started the campaign after she found that there was very little information on the signs of breast cancer to look out for.
A recent survey of 1,000 women by charity Breast Cancer Care found that a third of women don't check their breast regularly for signs and symptoms of cancer. While 96% know that a lump in the breast can be a symptom of cancer, more than a quarter did not know that an inverted nipple can also be a symptom.
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Prof Jayant Vaidya, professor of surgery and oncology at University College London, says indentation or flattening of the breast, particularly when the arm is lifted or when women lean forward is an important early sign. But he says that growing veins and inflamed breasts are rare symptoms, and skin erosion, orange peel skin and large bumps are signs of advanced disease.
"Showing lemons in an egg box seems to draw interest and attention to the issue and people may remember the signs better," he said. “But women will usually find the new 'invisible' lump in their breasts; it is the most common and frequently the only symptom."
This article originally appeared on BBC.
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