Lorraine was shocked to find out that her partner, Richard, had developed secondary breast cancer at the age of 40. Here, she shares why she’s started a campaign to raise awareness about male breast cancer.
Nobody took Richard’s concern seriously
When I spoke to people about Richard’s diagnosis, the response I would get was: ‘Male breast cancer... Is that a thing?’
Richard had developed a lump under his right nipple. After several visits to various GPs, he was told it was nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately, they were wrong. In November 2018, Richard was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
At diagnosis, the tumour under Richard’s right nipple was 5.5cm in diameter and the cancer had spread to his lungs and liver.
Treatment started immediately, with seven rounds of chemotherapy over eight months. This was alongside a targeted treatment, which he will now have in hospital every three weeks for the rest of his life.
I wanted to create something empowering and real
My journey with Richard during his ongoing treatment has led me to meet some inspiring and wonderful individuals.
One of these people was Amanda, who I met at the Sunrise Chemotherapy Unit in High Wycombe Hospital. I told her how beautiful she was. When she discovered that I’m a celebrity make-up artist and portrait photographer, she asked me if I would make her up and photograph her for her personal journal, scars and all.
What’s more, Amanda and her breast cancer group of friends were desperate to lend their support to us while Richard was going through treatment.
It dawned on me that – with my creative skills and drive to turn pain into passion – I could create something visually very empowering: a photographic campaign. Something that didn’t hide the scars, something raw and real.
I wanted to use tasteful images of people with breast cancer to visually help raise awareness of male breast cancer and early detection – not only aimed at the general public, but also as a wakeup call to GPs. So, with the willing help of the wonderful group I call my BREAST FRIENDS, I created #bluegetittoo.
We’re used to breast cancer focusing on women
We’re so used to breast cancer campaigns focusing on women, very often with pink slogans and symbols representing femininity. But breast cancer is not just about ‘pink’; ‘blue’ get it too!
In order to spread the word about this, I started #bluegetittoo: a non-profit awareness campaign. It is self-funded, created and designed by me, and supported by those who care. And if it can save just one man or woman’s life, then I’ve found our purpose.
I would be so grateful if people would take the time to join the movement, spread the word through our social media links, and share our short, compelling ‘Men Too?’ film to support the campaign and our story.
To find out more about Lorraine’s campaign, you can follow along on Facebook.
If you have concerns about male breast cancer and how to check for signs, take a look at our information pages.