As a team comprising only women, we at NewBeauty know the importance of breast cancer awareness and the severe consequences that can strike if the proper precautions aren’t taken to curb the situation quick enough or the right steps aren’t followed should the unwanted diagnosis reach you. So when an opportunity surfaces to share awareness for this or any type of cancer by simply clicking a button, there’s no wondering why thousands of Facebook users wouldn’t spread attentiveness, all believing they were making a difference when posting red hearts in support of breast cancer earlier this week. But, as Popsugar reports, not everyone was so pleased as one woman, Erin Smith Chieze, opened up about why a “cute heart” isn’t going to help save lives and posted the below letter paired with the above image.
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“In December of 2015 when I saw an indentation that looked like one of those pictures, I instantly knew I had breast cancer,” the caption reads. “I tried to feel for a tumor, but my tumor was non palpable. I was diagnosed with breast cancer five days later and with stage four the following month. A heart did nothing for awareness. I knew what breast cancer was. I knew all about self exams, but a picture of what to look for keyed me into knowing I had a terminal disease,” she continued. “We need to give REAL information, not cute hearts. Without having seen a picture randomly with real information, I wouldn’t have known what to look for.”
And providing real information and a picture is what she did, including the now viral image that is part of the “Know Your Lemons” campaign started by the Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization. The photo, an incredibly informative graphic that everyone can use for self-exams at home, shows that a lump is not the only red flag that something’s wrong. Ranging from redness and heat to a growing vein and an invisible lump, each lemon bears a different indicator of the disease that, when used to spot the problem early on, can help save your life like it did Chieze’s.
Since sharing her thoughts, Chieze’s post has been shared about 31,000 times, potentially saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. And while we can’t do anything about cancer itself—a girl can dream, right? —we can do our best when it comes to helping others catch the disease in time. To aid in doing your part, start by saving and sharing the photo with everyone you know and find out more information about the Know Your Lemons campaign here. And, if any of the changes you see in the infographic look familiar to you, please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about what they might mean for you.
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