A seemingly simple photo of 12 lemons has exploded across Facebook after a breast cancer survivor wrote an emotional post about how something similar had saved her life.

Erin Smith Chieze started the post off by condemning a game designed to raise awareness for breast cancer, explaining that posting secret love hearts isn’t helping.

“In the past few days, I have received quite a few private messages about a “game” going around where you post a heart, then you are secretly supposed to state it is for breast cancer awareness,” Erin wrote.

“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.”

But, Erin says, there is a way to use social media in a practical, live-saving way.

“Someone once posted a picture on Facebook of what breast cancer can look like,” Erin continued. “Not feel, but look like.

“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 tumour, but my tumour was non-palpable.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer five days later, and with stage 4 the following month.”

The photo shows 12 lemons, each with a distinct, lesser-known symptom of breast cancer; it was the visual representation of skin erosions, dimpling, growing veins and indentations that helped Erin realise that she herself may have cancer.

“I knew what breast cancer was,” she continued. “I knew all about self-exams, but a picture of what to look for keyed me into knowing I had a terminal disease.

“Without having seen a picture randomly with real information, I wouldn’t have known what to look for.”


Erin’s post has been shared more than 40,000 times, and has garnered thousands of comments; for more information, you can check out the full Know Your Lemons campaign, which is run by Worldwide Breast Cancer, on their Facebook page here.

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