How Lemons Can Help You Spot The Signs Of Breast Cancer

If you were on social media this weekend, you might have spotted a clear, colourful image of 12 lemons in an egg box on your newsfeed or timeline.

Not a new ad campaign from Pret or Innocent Smoothies, the lemons are, in fact, meant to represent breasts. The image is being used to explain the symptoms of breast cancer and highlight the fact that many women don't often take the time to get to know their own bodies.

We all know we should be checking our breasts for anything unusual – not just lumps – but would we actually know what to look for?

That's where the 'Know Your Lemons' campaign comes in. It uses an everyday object to help women understand their bodies and how to communicate when they think something may be wrong.

The initiative and accompanying hashtag, #KnowYourLemons, was created by the charity Worldwide Breast Cancer, which aims to help people recognise the symptoms of breast cancer as early as possible.
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It reiterates that there are many symptoms other than lumps, including: indentation, skin sores, redness or heat, unusual fluid, dimpling, a retracted nipple, and more.

The image has been shared more than 32,000 times on Facebook in the past few days, according to the BBC, and the charity said the post had reached 7.3 million people through Facebook on 11th January.

Worldwide Breast Cancer is urging anyone who shares the image to make their social media posts public, so as many people as possible see the campaign.

It also has a PayPal page where people can donate to the charity. The money won't go towards research or funding a cure, but towards raising awareness of the signs of breast cancer. "Education saves lives. Let's educate you first, then help us spread the message to others!" the charity says.

The campaign was the brainchild of Corrine Beaumont, a young designer who lost both her grandmothers to breast cancer when they were 40 and 62, and left her job to start Worldwide Breast Cancer two years ago.

Beaumont considered existing information about the signs of breast cancer to be insufficient and wanted to create a simple way to communicate the symptoms visually.

"Some patients don't want to talk about breasts or look at them," she told the BBC, adding that even people with "little literacy" would be able to understand her campaign's message.

So far, 'Know Your Lemons' has helped to educate people in the US, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon about breast cancer symptoms and has been translated into 16 different languages, the BBC reported.

Sadly, there is still a stark lack of knowledge about breast cancer symptoms in the UK, too. More than a quarter of women surveyed by Breast Cancer Care didn't know that an inverted nipple can be a symptom, while 96% knew to look out for lumps.

The NHS advises people to see their GP if they spot any of the following symptoms:

• a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that wasn't there before
• a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
• bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
• a lump or swelling in either armpit
• dimpling on the skin of your breasts
• a rash on or around your nipple
• a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
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