A cancer patient has branded Facebook's decision to remove a photo showing one of her nipples – which she posted to educate people about breast cancer – "disgraceful". Rowena Kincaid, 40, said the image's removal could prevent people from learning about cancer symptoms.
Facebook said it has reinstated the photo, which was removed accidentally. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told IBTimes UK, "Facebook is a place for people to share the things that matter to them. In this instance we made a mistake and have reinstated the photograph. We apologise for any inconvenience that this caused."
Last year, Kincaid featured in "Before I Kick the Bucket", a BBC documentary which shows her experience in dealing with the illness. She also posts information about breast cancer on Facebook and the page has more than 10,000 likes. On 23 January, she posted a photo of her right breast with a red rash around the nipple. Within two hours of the image being online, it had made 72,000 impressions.
But when Kincaid logged onto the platform the following day, she was notified that the photo had been removed, as it was deemed to violate Facebook's code of practice.
She told the Independent: "When you've got cancer you become a specialist in your own illness. I never knew what to look for or that a rash can be a sign of breast cancer. I woke up last weekend and thought, 'I have a rash on my breast and I'm going to die. If I don't share this, it will die with me'.
"I learnt after posting the picture how valuable it was. People were getting engaged, it was getting shared. What was coming through was that people only ever knew to look for a lump. But there are other things to look out for: puckering, inverted nipples, pain, a rash. I wasn't out to offend anyone. [It] looks like something out of a medical journal," she added.
She attempted to repost the photo with the nipple covered, but said that she found it "disgusting" that Facebook "took down a photograph that could potentially save lives". Kincaid said: "Posting that photograph was the bravest thing I've done. It's so personal; I was petrified. The fact is it is a shot of a human body part with a disease. If I had cancer in my big toe and had posted a picture to show what it looked like would they take that down?"
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