Not The Only One Photoshoot
Inspiring women strip off and share their mastectomy scars for breast cancer awareness
Over 30 women living without breast reconstruction after mastectomy surgery travelled from all over the UK to take part in a topless photoshoot for charity Flat Friends UK. Members of the charity’s online support group stripped off in front of the camera in the rain, so others can see that Living Flat is a positive outcome after mastectomy surgery. Each of the women who took part had undergone a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy due to receiving a breast cancer diagnosis or having inherited a variant gene which increases their risk of a future cancer diagnosis.
Flat Friends UK’s ‘Not The Only One’ campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 is focused on changing the discussion around mastectomy options. Despite data suggesting that two thirds of women who have a mastectomy do not have reconstruction [1], women are turning to Flat Friends UK for support as they have been made to feel like they are the only woman living without reconstruction. Photographer Sam Dade’s images aim to broaden perspectives and – hopefully – change minds about what surgery and body shape women may want in order to move forward positively after mastectomy.

According to a survey conducted by Flat Friends UK in 2020, 53 per cent of women in the UK do not feel informed of all the surgery options available to them after their mastectomy. 76 per cent were given information on breast reconstruction options but only 32 per cent were given information on staying flat after mastectomy.

To find out more about the women behind the scenes read their stories here

[1] National Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Audit, 2011, The NHS Information Centre.

Over the last 7 years I have done several photoshoots, but none have been as life-affirming, powerful, and emotional as this one. As far as we know, this is the world’s biggest ever mastectomy photoshoot – and all of us are living flat! So many women showing that life can still be wonderful after mastectomy; happy in their skin and living life to the full.
Gilly Cant, Founder and Trustee of Flat Friends
This was one of the most moving and inspiring experiences photographing all these women in such a vulnerable space. Let alone them trusting me to photograph them topless, sharing the raw experience of their journey! Flat Friends has a great sense of community, and this shoot was so powerful. I am humbled to have been a part of it all.
Sam Dade, Photographer

About Sam Dade

Sam Dade is a creative director, photographer, cinematographer, filmmaker, and digital artist based in East Sussex.
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