Like you, Erin Smith Chieze noticed all those red-heart emoji in her Facebook feed last week. While Chieze is quick to acknowledge the importance of breast cancer awareness (which is what those hearts were supporting), she's also the first to note that emoji can't do anything about cancer. Her response? Chieze created a different kind of viral moment with a group of lemons that illustrates cancer can look and feel on breasts. Chieze noted that a similar photo helped her when she was diagnosed. She said that while she knew the signs of cancer, not having a photo that depicted the indentation she saw on her breast made it difficult. She hopes that this photo will help women everywhere easily identify anything they see or feel on their own breasts.
"In December of 2015 when I saw an indentation that looked like one of those pictures, I instantly knew I had breast cancer," she wrote. "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 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. Do us a favor, stop playing games with my life and start truly helping people. Metastatic breast cancer treatment research and real awareness." The simple and informative image is a part of the Know Your Lemons campaign, which was started by the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization. Chieze hopes that the photo will give everyone something to share on social media that can create real results, spread incredibly important knowledge, and offer answers when women feel or see something on their own breasts. While the American Cancer Society no longer recommends self breast exams, photos like Chieze's are a memorable and easy-to-understand way to make sure any abnormalities you notice on your breast aren't something completely normal. If you do see something unusual, such as dimpling or an indentation, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor.