A new ad campaign in the African country of Mozambique is hoping to raise awareness about early breast cancer detection by enlisting some pretty powerful American women.
Wonder Woman, Storm, She-Hulk and Cat Woman have all been enlisted to fight breast cancer by teaching young women that even women of steel aren’t immune from having to perform breast self exams.
Each of the four ads features one super woman doing a not-so-cartoony thing: Publicly fondling their breasts, albeit, for a good cause.
Female artist Maisa Chaves drew the well-endowed iconic comic book characters from the chin to the torso, suggesting their identity by the heroines’ uniforms. (Some fans may argue their physique is part of their awesome super powers, so staying healthy is essential for battling arch rivals.) No word yet if DC or Marvel Comics has approved the campaign.
"When we talk about breast cancer, there's no women or superwomen. Everybody has to do the self-examination monthly. Fight with us against the enemy and, when in doubt, talk with your doctor,” the ad copy for the Associação da Luta Contra o Cancer (ALCC) reads.
These illustrations are grabbing eyeballs not just in Africa, but the world over. Don’t be surprised to see life-sized posters of the images hanging on fanboys (or girls) bedroom walls in the not-to-distant future. The artwork is the kind of gritty realism that’s sure to make geeks everywhere feel lightheaded.
While breast self exams do play a small role in finding a breast lump by chance, it’s primary purpose is for each woman to be “simply aware of what’s normal and report changes to a nurse or doctor right away,” according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
It is hoped that this eye-popping campaign will shock young women into going to see a doctor, according to ALCC, who is known for provocative in-your-face public awareness campaigns. The last one featured cockroaches and spiders living under women’s breasts.
Women need to be aware that breast self exams have their limitations,and not all breast lumps are cancer. In fact, about 8 in 10 aren’t cancer at all, according to ACS. Non-cancerous breast conditions are very common, and are never life-threatening. The two main types are fibrocystic changes and benign breast tumors.
The current guidelines recommend women in their 20s and 30s have a clinical breast exam as part of their regular health exam by a health professional at least every three years. After age 40, a yearly professional exam is recommended.
The ‘women of steel’ print ads appear on the ALCC Facebook page.
Lynette Summerill, an award-winning writer and scuba enthusiast lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in newspapers and magazines around the world.
Wonder Woman Lends Her Support. Daily Mail. Accessed online 16 December 2011 at:
Early Breast Cancer Detection: A Detailed Guide. American Cancer Society. 29 Sep. 2011. Accessed online 19 December 2011. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-detection
Benign Breast Conditions: Not all lumps are cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed online 19 December 2011 http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/UnderstandingYourDiagnosis/ExamsandTestDescriptions/ForWomenFacingaBreastBiopsy/breast-biopsy-benign-breast-conditions
Reviewed December 20, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith