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Street artists in Mexico spark candid conversations about breast cancer

Breast cancer education, artivism, and Mexico

Although rates of breast cancer in Mexico are comparable to those in the US, the mortality rate is significantly higher. The oncologists at FUCAM (Fundación de Cáncer de Mama) attribute it to various factors, including lack of education and cultural taboos that prevent awareness and early detection. Keep A Breast Foundation partnered with local Mexican and U.S.-based Latinx street artists to help launch the Spanish-language version of their early-detection and education app to reduce breast cancer risk and its impact globally.

Cristina Maya meets regularly with a collective of artists, like Paola Delfin, Cuatro Siete, Vlocke Negro, and Alina Kiliwa. Many of these artists are internationally known for the thought-provoking street art style they create. These mural artists in Mexico City all share the same purpose: to share social messages about women's equality. They aren’t in it to promote their own name or build their portfolio. They are part of a growing movement of artists blending activism and art, known as artivism.

Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) invited the collective to help with a poster campaign to stir up public discussion about breast cancer for their Spanish-language app launch. Cristina and her friends enthusiastically jumped on board. Then, New York based street artist Claudia Rivera joined in. Rivera, who goes by KLO, is known for her images inspired by her family history of breast cancer and her choice to get a prophylactic mastectomy. Like the others, KLO’s art is about communicating with a public audience about an extremely personal issue.

KAB historically brings together artists in the work of awareness, prevention, and early detection for breast cancer. On September 24, 2021, KAB launched its Spanish-language app to increase early detection and reduce the risks of breast cancer globally.

The app sends monthly push notifications that remind the user to do a self-exam. It also demonstrates how to do a self-check and gives tips on what to do when at the doctor. Once a user reports an irregularity, the app alerts partners like FUCAM to help connect women to healthcare professionals and resources.

The poster campaign brought the media and Mexico City’s attention to the need for women to check themselves regularly because early detection saves lives. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years. So, more app downloads equal more lives saved.

KAB’s founder, Shaney Jo Darden, explains the choice to use art to get their message out to the people. “Art", she says, “can trigger conversations about things that were previously unacceptable to discuss.” Art opens doors that those in the healthcare world often cannot. The KAB app connects women anonymously with Spanish-language speaking health professionals in both the US and Mexico.

By donating to Keep A Breast Foundation, you are joining the most generous community of mobile givers in the world who find joy in lowering the risks of breast cancer. When you are generous, you can feel good about being part of the change they wish to see in the world.

Art can trigger conversations about things that were previously unacceptable to discuss.”

Shaney Jo Darden
Founder of Keep A Breast Foundation

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