This Photo Is Going Viral Because It Can Help You Detect Breast Cancer

Earlier this week found people sharing pink hearts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while calling attention to this debilitating condition in any form is a step in the right direction, a breast cancer survivor named Erin Smith Chieze shared a very personal post discussing why sharing a “cute heart” isn’t bound to actually help save any lives.

She wrote:

“In December of 2015 when I saw an indentation that looked like one of those pictures, I instantly knew I had breast cancer. I tried to feel for a tumor, but my tumor was non palpable. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 days later and with stage 4 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 goes on to say,

“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. Do us a favor, stop playing games with my life and start truly helping people. Metastatic breast cancer treatment research and real awareness.”

After seeing the well-intentioned but ultimately counterproductive hearts all over social media, Erin decided to share her story alongside an image similar to the one which ultimately helped save her life. The image features a dozen lemons in an egg carton and is a part of the Know Your Lemons campaign started by the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization. The graphic provides twelve different symptoms it is absolutely imperative women look out for when giving themselves a breast exam.

“PLEASE, stop playing games that do not actually promote awareness, they often cause people to tune out anything that might even mention the word awareness. So if you truly want to help people WITH cancer, or those who will GET cancer, share photos like this one.”

In the past few days, I have received quite a few private messages about a "game" going around where you post a heart,…

Posted by Erin Smith Chieze on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of their lives. Ladies— stay safe and vigilant about checking your body for symptoms. As the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization writes on their site, “Think of a self-exam as a casual way to know what is normal for you. Best time to check is a few days after your period ends when things are most normal. A cancerous lump feels different from a normal lump: it’s often hard and immovable and can be any shape or size (like a lump or a thick mass).”

Spread this post or the lemons infographic. It could save a life.