When life gives you lemons… detect breast cancer early?

That’s the idea behind a viral photo that uses disfigured lemons to show women how cancer could affect their breasts, with the hope that a visual will help women spot a tumor earlier. Among the imperfect lemons — lined up in, of all things, an egg carton — are those with a growing vein, an indentation or retracted nipple, dimples and redness. It also includes a lemon with a hidden lump, one it compares to a seed.

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"Know Your Lemons" is a campaign by Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont and her Worldwide Breast Cancer charity organization. “Lemons became her stand-in metaphor for breasts as she tried to create a simple, visual way of showing what breast cancer symptoms can look and feel like,” the BBC reported. “Corrine describes the egg box of lemons as a playful, friendly image which might help women overcome their fear of the disease.”

For women who are feeling around for lumps during a shower, but aren’t quite sure what they are looking for, it may relieve some uncertainty. Beaumont has written on her Facebook page that she lost her grandmothers to breast cancer and started Worldwide Breast Cancer “to design information about breast cancer in a way that wasn’t intimidating, embarrassing or boring. You know, something that actually explained what a lump FELT like and what the signs of breast cancer LOOKED like!”

Among those explainers is another visual of a lemon that describes what the inside of a breast feels like, with the fat compared to the lemon’s flesh and lymph nodes compared to beans.

Breast tissue can be compared to the flesh of a lemon, and tumors could be like seeds. Credit: Worldwide Breast Cancer

Breast cancer awareness groups often recommend performing a self-exam once a month, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation says those frequent exams, like in the shower or in front of a mirror, will “help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your health care professional if there are any changes.”

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