The tennis star belts ‘I Touch Myself’ topless to encourage women to perform breast self-exams, as 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Serena Williams just kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month on a high note.
The tennis star teamed up with the I Touch Myself Project, which encourages women to perform breast self-exams, to film an intimate public service announcement reminding ladies to check themselves for lumps, distortions or swellings that could indicate cancer. She posted it to her Instagram page on Sunday to launch Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.
Williams, 37, covers “I Touch Myself” by the Australian rock band Divinyls — which can be scary enough for anyone who’s not a professional vocalist. But she takes the message one step further by singing the song topless, covering her breasts with her hands.
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This Breast Cancer Awareness Month I’ve recorded a version of The Divinyls global hit “I Touch Myself” to remind women to self-check regularly. _ Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it’s an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world. Early detection is key – it saves so many lives. I just hope this helps to remind women of that. _ The music video is part of the I Touch Myself Project which was created in honor of celebrated diva, Chrissy Amphlett, who passed away from breast cancer, and who gave us her hit song to remind women to put their health first. The project is proudly supported by @BerleiAus for Breast Cancer Network Australia. _ Visit the link in my bio to find out more. #ITouchMyselfProject #BerleiAus #BCNA #DoItForYourself
“Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it’s an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion and mother wrote. “Early detection is key – it saves so many lives. I just hope this helps to remind women of that.”
The Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett died of breast cancer in 2013. Her surviving husband and family members ensured that “I Touch Myself,” which was initially an anthem celebrating female pleasure and eroticism, took on an even stronger self-love message after she passed by becoming a call for more breast exams and breast cancer awareness. They founded the I Touch Myself Project and recorded a 2014 music video that featured other leading female Australian artists like Olivia Newton covering the song to encourage self-exams.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, regardless of race and ethnicity, and the second most common cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, according to the CDC, which warns that about 266,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer by the end of this year. And another 63,960 cases of non-invasive carcinoma in situ (or CIS — the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Tragically, 40,920 women will die from the disease.
But even though one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, health experts don’t want you to panic. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge and check yourself out, which is what this month of awareness is all about. Early detection gives patients a much better chance of beating the disease. The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage and hasn’t spread, then the five-year relative survival rate is 100%. It encourages women to perform self-exams every month, and to schedule regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms beginning at age 45.
So the I Touch Myself Project is calling on other women to spread the message by taking pictures of themselves holding their breasts (over your clothes is fine) and pledging to give themselves an exam with the hashtag #ITouchMyselfProject. Women are also encouraged to use this self-exam selfie as their profile picture on social media for the rest of the month to show unity with the campaign.
And expect your social media feeds to be awash in pink posts (the color embraced by breast cancer awareness), such as survivors and their families sharing their Snapshots of Hope with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Brands including Aerie, Estee Lauder and Lane Bryant are also selling pink products with proceeds benefiting cancer charities.
The best offense against cancer is a good defense — like early detection.
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