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Cancer Survivors Show Off Scars In Powerful Pictures For New Social Media Campaign

Cancer Survivors Show Off Scars In Powerful Pictures For New Social Media Campaign

A group of cancer patients, past and present, are showing the reality of how the disease can impact our bodies on an inspiring Instagram account, True Cancer Bodies.

The social media platform was set up by Vicky Saynor in April in response to an "ill-thought out" campaign from 'Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Now', which used slogans such as "2 are better than 1" and "bosom buddies" alongside beaming celebrity endorsements.

And although the charity has since apologised for missing the mark with its well-intentioned campaign, Vicky said she was inspired to create an outlet highlighting the reality of cancer, one that would directly connect and support the community affected.

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In November 2018, Vicky was diagnosed with Grade 3, Stage 1, Triple Negative Breast Cancer after she found a lump on her breast while preparing to fly out her honeymoon.

And following her surgery, Vicky, who had learned how to check herself properly via Coppafeel, decided to set up her Instagram blog @gammy_tit as a cathartic way of journaling what she was going through.

Within 72 hours of being inspired to create the campaign, Vicky had recruited 38 True Cancer Bodies from around the country to participate in a photoshoot to show a more authentic representation of the disease.

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Between them, the group, made up of both women and men who range from 26 to 57, represented 10 different cancers including breast, bowel, multiple myeloma and Ewing's sarcoma - many of which never get the glossy celebrity endorsements.

Since the photoshoot, True Cancer Bodies told PRETTY 52 they have received incredible support by showcasing "the ugly side as well as the beautiful" of living with the disease online.


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The Instagram account has amassed over 4,000 followers and they also operate an inclusive Facebook support group for cancer patients and their families.

Speaking to us about the campaign, they said: "Our key message is to raise awareness for difference cancers and show the true face (and body) of cancer.

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"Cancer is not pink and fluffy, it is brutal on every level. If we can open people's eyes to that then hopefully people will become better at knowing their normal, checking their breasts, balls, poo, skin and every other part of themselves.

"We know that early detection saves lives and our hope is that by getting to know more about different cancers, we can empower people to take ownership of their body and the changes they see or feel."

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Each month, True Cancer Bodies aims to spread awareness about different types of cancer; this month they're shining a light on rare cancers, in September it will be Thyroid and Lymphoma Awareness and then Breast Cancer Awareness in October.

With over 200 different types of cancers out there, the campaign admitted it will take them time to bring awareness to all of them but they're "determined to be a voice" for all those suffering.

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And while TCB is empowering those who follow them, several of their posts have been removed because they're deemed to breach Instagram and Facebook's "community guidelines" despite the positive message behind each photo.

"We find ourselves in awe daily by what the members of our community are going through & how that affects both they bodies and minds," they told PRETTY 52. "Whether that be losing their hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, major surgery which results in scars they proudly show, the brutal side effects of chemo and radiotherapy.

The group before during the inaugural photo shoot. Credit: Binky Nixon
The group before during the inaugural photo shoot. Credit: Binky Nixon

"We should applaud these warriors who will let us see their most vulnerable side in order to help others. We have had a number of photos and posts removed by Instagram and Facebook for breaching their 'community guidelines'.

Despite the minor setback, they won't let anything get in the way of supporting their community.

They concluded: "These images have shown nothing by the stunning beauty of the people in them and yet because of the nudity or scars that can be seen, they are deemed to be unacceptable to post. Something needs to change."

To learn more or show your support for the campaign click here or here.

Featured Image Credit: Binky Nixon

Topics: Life News, Real, Cancer, Health

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Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at editor@tyla.com.