Jay Walker blasted the site’s “double standards” after allowing clips of the Love Island star’s recent examination while vetoing her patient advice group's attempts to boost ads.
Unbelievably, Jay claims her campaign group was told their logo “contained nudity” because it uses punctuation to symbolise post-surgery breasts as (-) (*).
The Mastectomy Network logo is designed to represent a scarred breast after a mastectomy – the brackets representing the shape of breasts, the hyphen depicting a breast without a nipple, and the asterisk portraying a nipple.
After repeatedly quizzing moderators on the bans, the 39-year-old receives generic responses claiming Facebook doesn’t allow ads that “depict nudity, even if it isn’t sexual in nature”.
Even a post-op picture of Jay’s chest featuring stitches, bandages and her nipples, shared to highlight how minimal the scarring was, was removed by Facebook.
Jay, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, said: “Facebook have decided that due to our logo containing ‘nudity’ we are unable to promote the page or the private support group.
“The issue seems to be all of the logo – two brackets, a hyphen and an asterisk. It was designed to be quite subtle but obviously to represent a scarred breast.
“I can’t believe anyone would think the logo is sexualised.
“When I’ve replied asking Facebook to clarify what the problem is with the logo, which part of it, they haven’t come back to me."
The campaigner set up Mastectomy Network on Facebook in 2016 to give others going through mastectomies advice and support just seven weeks after having an elective double mastectomy.
Jay underwent a preventative mastectomy at the age of 36 having watched her mum battle breast cancer twice and knowing two paternal great aunts died from the disease.
Although not diagnosed with the BRCA mutation, the genetics team explained Jay may be at risk of an undiagnosed genetic mutation, which cemented her decision to undergo surgery.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH BRCA GENE MUTATIONS
The BRCA1 mutation is the more serious of the two – increasing a woman's risk of ovarian cancer from two per cent to 40-60 per cent.
While the risk of breast cancer rises from 11 per cent to 60-85 per cent.
Meanwhile the BRCA2 mutation raises a woman's risk of ovarian cancer to 10-20 per cent, and the risk of breast cancer to 45-60 per cent.
The BRCA mutations can also increase the risk of prostate, pancreatic and breast cancer in men.
Angelina Jolie, whose mum Marcheline Bertrand died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56, underwent a preventative breast removal in 2013 after she tested positive for the gene.
There are around 18,000 preventative mastectomies performed in England each year, according to the NHS.
The procedure is carried out on healthy breast tissue to reduce the risk of cancer developing.
Prophylactic mastectomies can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 90 per cent in people at a high risk of developing the condition.
Here in Britain, only one in 400, or one in 800, people carry a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.
But the stats are higher in people with Ashkenazi Jewish, Polish, Pakistani, Dutch, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish heritages.
Jay said: “It was a no-brainer, having watched my mum go through breast cancer the first time, have a couple of scares before being diagnosed again in 2001.
“I knew then I didn’t want to go through what she did before knowing about the gene and went down to surgery like a kid on Christmas Eve, I was so excited to get it done.
“I had an overwhelming feeling of relief when I woke up.”
Mastectomy Network’s public page offers advice and acts as a signpost to a private support group where users can air any concerns and share post-op pictures for reassurance.
However even Jay's post-op pic was removed by Facebook.
Jay said: “Since sharing that picture I’ve had to be careful to blur my nipples out. It’s particularly annoying as the surgery was around the nipple.
“I just wanted to show others how I looked after surgery and reassure other women.”
Jay was outraged after Facebook deemed it ok to show Love Island’s Chris Hughes getting his testicles checked on This Morning, but banned her own breast shots.
She explained: “I’m 100 per cent behind the This Morning testicle exam, it’s brilliant, and anything to help end the stigma around checking yourself can only be a good thing but it does feel very sexist.
“The main public page is for sharing information and support group is completely closed and private.
“It’s a private space for people to be able to discuss upcoming operations and share images afterwards, for example checking if something looks ‘normal’ or whether they need further medical attention or the cosmetic appearance before and after the operation.
“It’s not sexualised or for titillation. We see Facebook regularly banning women just for sharing their own post-op images with each other and would urge them to reconsider what they deem offensive.”
Jay said that by deleting photos, Facebook is furthering the “misconception that breasts are sexual”.
She added: “Yes they can be, but that’s not what they are all about. They could do so much to destigmatise this issue but are just strengthening them and endorsing this ridiculous old-fashioned idea that breasts can’t be seen.
“You see men walk down the street with no tops on with their nipples out no problem, there’s obviously a time and a place, but by deleting this photos and banning women they are helping these double standards.
“The only dangerous nipple is a cancerous one and it doesn’t care what gender you are.
“We’re only targeting women in the UK aged between 25 and 65, so no under 18s.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is the name given to any cancers that have first developed in the breast tissue – there are many different types.
Nearly 1,000 people die from breast cancer every month in the UK, with the disease killing around 11,500 women and 80 men each year.
However, thanks to advances in medical research and early prevention, more people are surviving breast cancer than ever before.
While it is more common in older women, it does affect the younger generation and men too – with around 20 per cent of cases occurring in females under 50 and 350 male cases diagnosed in the UK annually.
For most women, the first sign or symptom of breast cancer is a lump or area of thickened tissue in their breast.
While 90 per cent of such lumps are not cancerous, it is vital to get them checked by your GP at the earliest opportunity – detecting the disease early can mean treatment is more effective.
“All we want to do is help other women make better informed decisions about their bodies.”
Campaigner Jay highlighted the importance of Facebook as a tool for easily sharing information to a vast audience cheaply.
Jay said: “Facebook is so useful and important. So many people already have it and can easily find support groups on there.
“People might be dubious of going to a website they’ve never heard and I can’t afford to have brochures and fancy leaflets.”
Discussing how to help women prepare for a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis, Carolyn Rogers, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: “Women with breast cancer regularly call our Helpline to find out about preparing for a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery and they tell us that knowing what to expect makes all the difference.
“It is absolutely crucial that everyone with a life-changing breast cancer diagnosis has access to all the information and support they need, both from experts and others who’ve been there.”
A Facebook spokesperson said: “Whilst adult nudity isn’t allowed on Facebook, we do make exceptions including for posts which are clearly intended as medical or educational.
"This can include images of post-mastectomy scarring.
“The judgements we make when we apply our policies are incredibly nuanced, and our teams review millions of pieces of content every day. We’re currently investigating the posts and ads shared with us.”
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