The genius way a dozen lemons can help you detect breast cancer.

When Erin Smith Chieze posted an image of twelve lemons on Facebook, it went viral for all the right reasons.

In the post Erin explained how she was able to quickly spot the signs of her own breast cancer, get to her doctor and receive her diagnosis, all because someone had posted a similar image to Facebook.

The 12 lemons represent the many different ways breast cancer can show itself; from dimpling, a retracted nipple, a growing vein, or a hidden lump. Many of us mistakenly assume that a lump is the only symptom of breast cancer, but this simply isn’t the case.

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The Worldwide Breast Cancer website, which hosts the original image of the lemons, specifies that if you find new changes like this that stay around, you should see your doctor.

The site also features another image of the inside of a lemon, which gives a clear picture of what women should be looking for when they check their breasts. A cancerous lump, they specify, is hard like a lemon seed, whereas the lymph nodes feel like small beans.

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When Erin first penned her viral post, she was writing in response to a Facebook 'game' where you post an image of a red heart and then secretly state that it's for breast cancer awareness. But after her experience, she felt this trend was markedly unhelpful.

She wrote: 'Someone once posted a picture on Facebook of what breast cancer can look like. Not feel, but look like. In December of 2015 when I saw an indentation that looked like one of those pictures, I instantly knew I had breast cancer. I tried to feel for a tumor, but my tumor was non palpable. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 days later and with stage 4 the following month.'

'A heart did nothing for awareness. I knew what breast cancer was. I knew all about self exams, but a picture of what to look for keyed me into knowing I had a terminal disease. We need to give REAL information, not cute hearts. Without having seen a picture randomly with real information, I wouldn't have known what to look for. Do us a favor, stop playing games with my life and start truly helping people. Metastatic breast cancer treatment research and real awareness.'

detect breast cancer
'I knew what breast cancer was. I knew all about self exams, but a picture of what to look for keyed me into knowing I had a terminal disease.' Image via iStock.

She added: 'This is a photo I have found that is very similar to the one I originally saw. PLEASE, stop playing games that do not actually promote awareness, they often cause people to tune out anything that might even mention the word awareness. So if you truly want to help people WITH cancer, or those who will GET cancer, share photos like this one. I wish I remembered who posted the original picture I saw, it truly did make a difference for me.'

The Facebook post received hundreds of positive responses with someone commenting: 'Thank you Erin for posting the picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I had no idea that orange peel skin and growing veins might also be a sign of breast cancer. The picture does help to recognize the enemy!'