Warning: images featured in this article contain nudity.
Breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies have shared emotional yet empowering stories to give other patients hope.
Their narratives and portraits have been collated into a book called ‘Beauty After Breast Cancer’, created by Katelyn Carey who had a preventative double mastectomy when she was 29 years old to reduce her risk of contracting the disease.
“I believe that we can use our hardships to help others who must walk similar paths to the ones we have stumbled on,” Carey told The Huffington Post.
Pictured above: Sokha, one of 38 women featured in the book
Carey’s mum, aunt and great grandmother died from breast cancer, which meant she had a very high risk of developing it too.
Not wanting to take a chance, Carey, who now has two children and works full time as a nurse, opted to have a double mastectomy.
She said she felt very overwhelmed and underprepared by the prospect of surgery. And afterwards, it took three years to fully come to terms with her new body.
Carey has now compiled a book to help women in a similar position understand the procedure and know they’re not alone.
“The book came about because I discovered that every patient I spoke to had a list of things they wish they’d been told,” she told The Huffington Post UK. “And almost everyone spoke of being overwhelmed and intimidated by the information they were given.”
It hopes to answer questions which are “often left unanswered” for women post-surgery, such as how they are going to feel, how they are going to explain their cancer journey to people they’re dating, and how long it will take before their bodies feel their own again.
“Nobody feels hopeful when looking at the faceless pictures of post-op torsos that are shared in many doctor’s offices,” Carey added.
“Those pictures may be clinically helpful, but they are missing any personality - confirming in some ways the worst fears of new patients, that they will lose themselves and their femininity.”
Here are just some of the incredible women who feature in the book.