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Cancer patients show scars for Stand Up To Cancer

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image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionDeborah James said she had learned to appreciate her "strong and resilient" body

Cancer patients have bared their surgery scars in a charity exhibition showing the "gritty and raw reality" of the disease.

Sixteen men and women took part in the Defiance exhibition to show strength and solidarity against cancer, despite the changes to their bodies.

Photographer Ami Barwell said the project, for Stand Up To Cancer, was an "act of rebellion" and looked at the disease in "an honest and unfiltered way".

image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionThe people involved are described as "strong, beautiful and defiant"
image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionThomasina McGuigan said her scar "is an important part of who I am"

Thomasina McGuigan, 45, from Portsmouth, was diagnosed with stage three invasive breast cancer at the age of 20.

"I am extremely proud of my scar," she said. "A story of survival of an unexpected diagnosis and some pretty unpleasant treatment."

image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionTasha Jilka was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which affected her face and nose

Tasha Jilka, 27, from Leicester, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma just before her 18th birthday in 2010.

"My cancer has completely changed my face," she said. "I use my face as a symbol of strength, something that shows everything I've been through."

image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionSteve McAllister said his scar was "as much a part of my body as my arm or my leg"

Steve McAllister, 67, from Cardiff, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, said: "I was completely gobsmacked that it could happen to me.

"Before my mastectomy I was quite concerned with what my scar was going to look like. Now though... I've completely embraced my scar."

Deborah James, 38, from London, who has stage four bowel cancer, said: "For me, it's about not being defined by my cancer.

"I want to be seen as the woman I was before and yes, sometimes I do still want to look sexy."

image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionMark Douglas said cancer "comes in all shapes and sizes and we can all be defiant in our own way"

Mark Douglas, 39, from London, who has thyroid cancer, was diagnosed at 30.

"I have a scar on my neck from surgery, but the main physical change for me has been how it's altered my voice, which is almost like an invisible scar," he said.

image copyrightAmi Barwell/PA Media
image captionStand Up To Cancer, which funds cancer research, has raised more than £62m to support 52 clinical trials

Defiance will be open on Tuesday between 12:00 BST to 16:00 BST at Carousel, in London.

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Related Topics

  • Cancer
  • Portsmouth
  • Leicester
  • Cardiff