Photos here by:
More on Cancer:
Breast Cancer Survivors
"Cancer Connections" was all about facing the harsh reality of cancer together. Images of breast cancer survivors came in from all across the country, and women were not afraid to show the effects of cancer and mastectomies. One of the values of PhotoSensitive has always been to shed light on things we find painful. In this case, the pain was shared and shared pain is lessened.
Women in these photos were in various stages of surviving breast cancer, fighting it and learning to continue on. Sadly, some of them have passed on in the meantime but most continue to fight. We hope that those who come here in their own pain find their pain lessened through these shared images of breast cancer survivors and fighters.
Through Cancer Connections, cancer survivors shared their pictures, photos, photo journals and more with us, as we sought to document the toll that cancer takes on the lives of its victims and their loved ones. The fight against cancer unites almost everyone, and surviving cancer is a great victory for anyone who does so, no matter what scars that battle leaves.
Fighting Breast Cancer Defiantly
After undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer in 2006, Cindy Bury likened herself to a unicorn, empowering herself to face the battle that was before her. Three years later another lump was found on the same side. Cindy has opted for natural healing and refuses to let the disease get the better of her.Image Credit: Andrew Simpson
At the National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Cancer (2006), Vanessa was body-painted by visiting artist ARKAngel, on site to paint women's embattled bodies representing their experiences with breast cancer. Vanessa told the artist she wanted to be painted as a warrior goddess who had fought cancer and lived to tell the tale. Here, her tale is told in body paint and photography. Photo by Ania Kohinski.
Mastectomies and Reconstructive Surgery
Renee Martin and her friends show unity against cancer. Here, she shows off her reconstructed breast, supported by others. Image by Elise Racine.
In this image by Jane Eaton Hamilton, a breast cancer survivor contemplates the cast she made of herself before her surgery. Even though her mastectomy makes her "feel like a circus freak" (represented by the mask she wears) she wants to be a role model by opting out of reconstructive surgery. This woman has remained free of cancer for over a decade.
Libby Znaimer is a Toronto media personality and breast cancer survivor. Here, she poses less than a year after being treated for breast cancer, showing a scar on her left side. Libby is now cancer-free. Image by Brent Foster.
Dealing with hair loss and chemotherapy
Women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy can suffer the doubled insult of losing their hair. We encountered images of women finding empowerment in this, too, though. Here, Janelle Hughes shows off the custom headdress she created for herself (in 2006) under the banner of her own artistic airbrushing business, Bald is Beautiful. Image by Carmine Marinelli. Sadly, Janelle passed on in early 2008.
"Life can be cruel," admits Maha El-Sabaawi. At 24, she was undergoing the final stages of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. The cruelty of cancer was not without its gifts, though. She adds that "I now understand patience, compassion and the meaning of family and freindship." Here, she tries on wigs to replace hair she lost in treatment. Photo by Dave Chidley.
In a signature photo from the exhibit, Erin applies eyeliner like any other beautiful young woman wanting to look her best. Erin explored alternative treatments in spite of being diagnosed as terminal. Sadly, she passed away soon after this photo was taken. Image by Aaron Vincent Elkaim.
One of the more strikingly artful and beautiful images in Cancer Connections was this post-mastectomy nude of Melanie Roach. For Melanie, "The hardest part [of the cancer tratment] was losing my hair. It was such a part of my identity and femininity. Cancer has taught me that no matter what life throws at me, I will be able to deal with it." Image by John Ratchford.