Changing the picture of breast cancer for good

Today’s post comes from Worldwide Breast Cancer – a nonprofit founded by Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont (MFA, PhD). Her innovative breast health education campaign uses the power of design to educate women everywhere about the 12 signs of breast cancer with the goal of reducing deaths from breast cancer by 25 percent by 2025.

Despite the fact that breast cancer represents a significant public health burden for society and health care systems, public understanding of this disease is still limited. We know for a fact that an informed breast cancer community is able to better guide policy makers in the right direction for change, reflecting the real needs of those that are directly and/or indirectly affected by this disease.

There are several national and EU wide initiatives striving for policy change and awareness raising in this space. Among these initiatives is an innovative breast health education campaign initiated by Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont. This worldwide campaign is based on the visual of a lemon – Know Your Lemons – and aims to educate communities worldwide about the signs of cancer. 

Know Your Lemons is the first ever global breast health education campaign


know your lemons


How can lemons educate the world about the signs of breast cancer and the importance of detection? 

The image from the Know Your Lemons campaign seen below became a social media viral phenomenon in January 2017, making the 12 signs of breast cancer shown through lemons one of the most popular images shared on social media. 166 million people saw this image in three weeks! It really has been an astounding reaction. We believe these lemons gained so much attention because people everywhere can look at breast cancer now.

know your lemons 2

Before this image, we looked at pink things for breast cancer. Pink socks. Pink bags of cat food. Pink ribbons. All of these things were to raise “awareness” and while we all now have heard of breast cancer, very few of us actually knew the symptoms beyond a lump—and half weren’t sure what a lump felt like. But money was raised. It went towards funding research and helping people tackle this nasty problem, which has gotten us incredibly far to where we are today until a cure is found.

But, this pink-ness in some ways has left us thinking, “Ugh, not another breast cancer awareness event/product/campaign.” Some have even said, “Breast cancer gets too much attention, let’s focus on X health issue instead.” Sadly, some even think breast cancer has been cured.

The problem is that breast cancer is still a HUGE problem - “1,670,000 cases a year” huge. Every 19 seconds a woman is told, “You have breast cancer.” One-in-four women with cancer have breast cancer. And a few of these women were Corrine’s (our founder) grandmothers and childhood friend—and you’ve likely been impacted too in your own family or circle of friends. We all have a 1-in-8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer if we live past the age of 70.

While we’ve have made some great strides in screening and treatment, we have not done very well with education, particularly when it comes to those who can’t read, don’t understand their options for investigating a symptom, are afraid to talk about it and can’t be shown breasts. And this just isn’t in remote parts of the world, it’s an issue everywhere.

But this can change now that we all can stand to look at breast cancer!

These lemons are pretty powerful. They can be shown in public without being gory or getting censored, yet it’s incredibly detailed. It’s not yet another pink thing. It communicates quickly without requiring a high level of motivation, or education. It cuts through all the noise and simply explains what to look for, feel for, and if you see the whole campaign on our charity website, the important steps to take to find it.

Currently, 1000+ global education partners in over 70 countries are using the campaign in 17 languages.

Map know your lemons


We now have an opportunity to do something incredibly powerful. Millions have seen the image online, but most women are not on Facebook. And they are the ones that need this campaign the most. Why? Because when breast cancer is diagnosed at Stage IV, that is, when it has left the breast and spread to other organs or bones, there is no cure. And when there is no awareness, or a doctor trained in how to identify breast cancer, lives are cut short. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

But for that to become a reality for these women, we need your help. 

These lemons need to be seen by everyone possible. There are 2.2 billion women in the world who are at an age where this information is important. And the best way to spread information is through friends and family. This has already started to happen in a significant way, and it needs to keep going. More languages have been added and it’s expanding.

Until we’ve got a cure, we desperately need to educate.

This really can work, if we do this together. Here are four simple actions you can take:

1)      Go to and educate yourself about the 12 signs of breast cancer and steps for screening

2)      Download the image from our website in one of 12 languages and share with your friends and family

3)      Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our images

4)      Ask your family and friends to join you in helping us reduce breast cancer deaths by 25% by the year 2025 by tagging them and asking them to share the images

Help us make this campaign more famous than the Mona Lisa and save lives.

Follow Worldwide Breast Cancer online:

mona lisa lemons

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