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Heading out saves breasts? Actress Pam Oei calls out confusing breast cancer posters, reveals mum's struggle with disease

Heading out saves breasts? Actress Pam Oei calls out confusing breast cancer posters, reveals mum's struggle with disease
PHOTO: Facebook/Pam Oei

With one in 13 women — and one in 1000 men — likely to suffer from breast cancer in their lifetime, there's no overstating the importance of awareness campaigns.

But if the online confusion is anything to go by, the Breast Cancer Foundation's (BCF) latest campaign may have missed the mark.

BCF has apologised for causing "confusion and or offence" after actress Pamela Oei took to Facebook last Thursday (Nov 19) to express her exasperation at the social service agency's posters.

The first of the two posters in question read: "To stop the spread, mask up. For your breasts, go up, down, in, out and all around."

The second read: "Staying home saves lives. Heading out saves breasts."

Succinctly summing up her sentiments, Oei wrote in Hokkien, "Hah li kong simi? (What are you saying?)"

She was certainly not alone. Others, including fellow actress Janice Koh, were left scratching their heads.

The backlash did not go unnoticed by BCF, which left a comment to apologise and explain their campaign, titled Stop The Spread.

As a result of the pandemic and the circuit breaker period, many women have postponed their mammograms, they explained.

"Since everyone's attention has been on Covid-19, we decided to leverage that to remind people about breast cancer — another health crisis that also needs urgent attention.

"The juxtaposition between Covid-19 and mammogram/breast self-examination advice is meant to intrigue people to read on and scan our QR code (located within the same media panel) to know more."

They also pointed netizens to their online step-by-step breast self-exam guide

But the explanation left Oei wanting — a confusing and "garbled" message is hardly going to entice the public to scan the QR code to learn more, she pointed out.

The issue is particularly close to her heart because of her own family history with the disease, she shared.

"My mother died of breast cancer in 1999 at the young age of 54 — in fact tomorrow (Nov 20) is her 21st death anniversary — so I am no stranger to the importance of breast self-examination and mammograms.

"And I think the work that BCF does is important and life-saving indeed. All the more your messaging to the public to bring awareness to breast cancer should be clear and incisive."

BCF did not respond publicly to Oei's comment.

BCF's campaign, which was done in partnership with Target Media Culcreative, had been rolled out last month at various HDB lift lobbies around Singapore.


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