A recent survey of women in the Netherlands found that 79 percent of respondents diagnosed with breast cancer noticed symptoms prior to being diagnosed.
Seno Medical Instruments, Inc. (Seno Medical), a Texas-based medical imaging company developing breakthrough breast cancer diagnostic technology, teamed up with the Know Your Lemons campaign to conduct the survey in the Netherlands, which has one of the highest incidence rates in the world, during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Sponsored by the international breast cancer charity, the Know Your Lemons Foundation focuses on breast health education to overcome taboos, fears, and literacy issues. The most famous image of their campaign uses 12 lemons in an egg carton that illustrate 12 signs of breast cancer. The study found that the image improved early detection.
When patients were asked about their symptoms, initially just 11 percent thought they had more than one symptom. However, when patients were shown the 12 symptoms of breast cancer image, 41 percent identified that they had two or more symptoms of breast cancer. Sixty-eight percent of women who had a noticeable symptom said the image would have helped them had they seen it before they were diagnosed.
Only one-third of patients surveyed were old enough for routine mammogram screening (age 50 or older), so symptom awareness was particularly critical for this population. Importantly, self-exam helped one out of five patients find breast cancer. For those that reported not performing a regular self-exam, 44 percent said the reason was simply forgetting to do it.
Through the partnership with Know Your Lemons, Seno Medical supports educational activities focused on healthcare providers across the Netherlands where its opto-acoustic ultrasound imaging technology is already in use providing more information about the abnormal blood vessels and oxygen content of potential tumors.
“Doing whatever we can to diagnose breast cancer early is the mission of our company,” said Tammy Garcia, the senior vice president of sales and marketing at Seno Medical. “We’re thrilled to be making a difference by educating and empowering women and men so they can take care of themselves and seek help early.”
“When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, survival rates are nearly 100 percent,” says Dr. Corrine Ellsworth-Beaumont, founder and designer of Know Your Lemons. “Our charity has reached over half a billion women (and men) around the world, but we won’t rest until we reach everyone. Awareness is something that goes beyond October—it’s a year-round effort. We hope to send out hundreds of posters this November to make a difference in the Netherlands.”
One of the survey respondents, Amanda Menno, age 46 from Hoogland, knew she had a symptom because of the campaign. “Once I saw all the different symptoms of breast cancer, the image got stuck in my mind, which was a good thing since I discovered a dimple in my breast a short time later. Because of Know Your Lemons, I knew that I had to see my doctor as soon as possible.”
With the support of Seno Medical, Know Your Lemons is offering a free poster, while supplies last, to patients and healthcare providers in the Netherlands who visit https://knowyourlemons.com/nederlands to boost educational efforts.