Glossy, Photoshopped and lighthearted cancer adverts – The True Cancer Bodies campaign is showing the truth

The reality of life is that cancer is, unfortunately, a part of it. In the UK one in two men or women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. But why are the campaigns and adverts not a true reflection of this?

We are more likely to see pictures of celebrities and picture perfect models in branded T-shirts, rather than the faces and bodies of the individuals who are actually living and fighting everyday with this illness.

Being a cancer victim herself, Vicky Saynor, 43 from Hertfordshire was extremely irritated by the campaign from the Breast Cancer Now Charity. It was based around the hashtags #Bosombuddies and #TwoIsBetterThanOne, which were used to promote support and community. This particular campaign was blasted for being insensitive and not an accurate representation of the experience and reality of cancer. The specific hashtag #TwoIsBetterThanOne was criticised for being thoughtless to women who have had one or both their breasts removed.

Vicky is standing up to this particular issue with a series of photos called True Cancer Bodies. This particular campaign is to show the world the truth behind this disease. It’s not all smiles or anything like the fabricated version that is portrayed all over our social media channels. Vicky told the Metro in 2019 ‘the majority of campaigns are money centric, targeting the ‘healthy’ population to donate money. So, “the campaigns are glossy, inoffensive, even playful. But when you’re going through cancer treatment, that’s the last thing you want to see”.

The participants in the series of photos ranged from 26 to 57 year olds and they all represented all the different types of cancer. The photos capture people gleaming, posing and being empowered by their scars and imperfections.


Breast Cancer Now has since apologised for their campaign and any offence it may have caused. They have also removed the video from its social media accounts. Despite this, Vicky believes more still need to be done to show the reality of living with cancer.


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