Brave Facebook Photos Showing Cancer Scars Send a Message on more than One Level

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Feb 18, 2014

One brave breast cancer survivor isn’t afraid to show just what the treatments and surgeries can do to a woman’s body. Beth Whaanga from Australia has revealed all on her Facebook page with graphic photos depicting just what the disease can do to a woman’s body.
Jezebel recently reported about the 33-year-old’s controversial semi-nude photos and the message she wishes to send about being proactive in detecting breast cancer early. Whaanga and photographer Nadia Masot teamed up on the “Under the Red Dress” project to show what real breast cancer survivors look like under their clothes.
Whaanga explained on her Facebook, “The aim of this project is to raise awareness for breast cancer. If you find these images offensive please hide them from your feed. Each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story. Nadia Masot and I aim to find others who are willing to participate in our project so that we might show others that cancer effects everyone. The old and the young, age does not matter, self examination is vital. It can happen to you.” She warned her community about the difficult content of her photographs and told them that her hope was to help other women, many of whom may not have been tested and create an awareness that may not have existed before.
The dramatic photos show her mastectomy scarring from her breast cancer diagnosis last year. Whaanga also bares hysterectomy scars after undergoing the procedure due to her gene predisposal to cancer. The photos proved too much for some to handle, Whaanga reports that around 100 friends dropped her on Facebook after she posted the photos. But she was not put off by the loss of FB friends saying, “I'm a registered nurse and I really felt I had an obligation to others to raise awareness about cancer. If my experience could help others, then I felt like it was necessary to do that.”
Interestingly, the same number of people 'defriended' her as defended her. Whaanga is a survivor and hopes being candid about her illness also provides a perspective to understanding who is worth the value of her friendship.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but should Facebook 'friends' like the person they friended in the first place and see past the "Fakebook-ness" of it all?
What do you think about Whaanga’s “Under the Red Dress” project? Shouldn't we support each other through thick and thin on social media? Or are we just there to applaud celebrations and birthdays?

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ToBeHeard by ToBeHeard | Tucson, AZ
Feb 20, 2014

I admire that she has shared such a sensitive story. Cancer is a horrible disease. Her photos may be dramatic but so is cancer!