Can a picture of cancer become a work of art? It turns out that yes. This was proven by Polish photographer Małgorzata Lisowska, who was awarded in the Nikon Small World competition. One of her works gained particular recognition – a frame showing breast cancer cells arranged in the shape of a heart.
The Nikon Small World Competition has been organized for over 45 years. Every year, the initiative attracts crowds of scientists and creators from all over the world, mainly artists specializing in taking microscopic photos. This time, the top three distinguished photographers included a Pole, Małgorzata Lisowska. Her work is surprising for several reasons.
A Polish woman photographed her own breast cancer cells
At the end of February 2023, Ms. Małgorzata was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. The photographer underwent a total of 16 cycles of chemotherapy and mastectomy combined with breast reconstruction. As she recalls on social media, the last few months were very difficult for her, and taking photos took on a different meaning in the face of the disease and became therapy. The woman decided to see what the cancer looked like from the inside. What she saw exceeded her wildest expectations.
“I wanted to know what my cancer looked like. What I saw under the microscope had and still has therapeutic value for me. When I saw the heart, I had a hard time believing it was real. How is it possible for cancer cells to form the shape of a heart? I approached cancer as if it was information. This attitude was very supportive for me,” we read in one of the entries published by Małgorzata Lisowska on social media.
The photographer sent a photo of the cancer to a competition and won. However, this is not the most important thing for her. He wants to use microscopic images of cancer cells in therapeutic work with cancer patients, share his experience and support others in the fight against the disease.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
At the same time, the photographer appeals to take care of your health and not ignore any disturbing signals from your body. Breast cancer is an insidious disease that may not initially cause any disturbing symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to self-examine your breasts and react quickly if you notice any changes. It is worth paying special attention to symptoms such as: lumps in the armpit area, skin changes visible around the nipple, nipple discharge or breast asymmetry. It is also very important to perform regular preventive examinations, such as mammography (on average every two or three years) or breast ultrasound (once a year).