Believe it or not, over one million selfies are snapped every day. In fact, they make up about 30 percent of photos taken by people between the ages of 18 and 24. But one breast cancer awareness foundation, Keep A Breast (KAB), has found a pretty unique way to utilize the social media trend: as a way to communicate the importance of early detection. Through their global initiative, #CHECKYOURSELFIE, launching tomorrow, KAB is asking people across the world to post a three-finger photo pledge to help spread education. Instead of being selfie-indulgent, they are urging us to be self-aware when it comes to our bodies—and our breasts.
Recently, we sat down with KAB’s founder, Shaney Jo Darden, to talk about the initiative and how health plays a (big) part.
Shape: How did you come up with the name and concept for #CHECKYOURSELFIE?
Shaney Jo Darden [SD]: We’ve always been very social media orientated because we are a young organization, so what a better way to use the phenomenon of selfies for good? Young women and teens are obsessed with their phones. So we’re going to hit them where they spend their time. You won’t find us educating in the doctor’s office. It’s where you live. It’s on your phone.
Shape: What do you know now that you wish you knew 15 years ago?
SD: Never let anyone tell you you’re too young for breast cancer. I’ve had so many women tell me that they will go to their doctor because of a concern over a lump, and the doctor will turn them away and say they’re too young to be at risk. It happens all the time.
Shape: Do you think that is a common misconception?
SD: Absolutely. Breast cancer isn’t just something for older women. One of our main points of conversation is letting people know it can happen to you and your friends—not just your mom or grandmother. It’s about changing attitudes around the disease. But also, you can play a part in your own health. Forty percent of breast cancer is self-detected. With more education, why can’t we make that 60 or 70?
Shape: What would you tell someone who just got diagnosed?
SD: Everyone’s diagnosis is different, but I would tell someone to get opinions from a few different doctors. Build your own health and wellness team so you can make educated decisions, not just emotional ones. Making choices for yourself is hard to do when you’re scared, but opinions will help.
Shape: What is the best thing we can do on an individual level to spread awareness?
SD: It starts with you. Download our app, get into the routine of checking yourself, tell your friends, and when you’re with them, talk about it! Vote with your dollars. Supporting non-toxic businesses is so important to our health. It’s all about using your body—and your money—wisely.
For more info, download the Check Yourself! App, which includes information on how to do a breast self-exam along with automatic monthly reminders.