Best for My Chest

Best for my Chest is roaring success

‘Best for My Chest’ is a POC and LGBTIQ+ inclusive Breast Cancer Screening Campaign that the Live Through This team has launched in partnership with the NHS North East London Cancer Alliance with help from MOBAS, a creative agency. We have worked hard to create a new style of campaign that encourages people in our community to attend breast screening or, if necessary, get their symptoms checked! Best for My Chest encourages anyone nervous about their screening to advocate for themselves and request changes to their appointment that could make the experience more comfortable.

Breast cancer screening saves lives, but our community can face multiple barriers when trying to access this vital service. Whether they face issues with receiving an invitation, have fears about the appointment or just feel disconnected from the usual messaging and campaignsBest for my Chest was created to let our community know that this service is for them, and they will be treated with respect when they use it.” 

~Stewart O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of Live Through This

But why did we need a campaign like this?

Studies show that 14% of LGBTQ+ people avoid healthcare 1 and 57% of trans people avoid healthcare when they are unwell 2. Research also showed that 45% of trans people and 55% of non-binary people felt that healthcare professionals lacked knowledge about their health needs 2. Lesbian and bisexual women report poorer experiences of screening and lower trust in healthcare providers’ expertise 3,4 and can feel that the “Pinkwashing” of breast cancer information could be dysphoric 5. Knowing this, we started to ask ourselves: How could we make screenings more welcoming to our community?

In order to fully hear how we could reach our community with our message, we held focus groups in a safe, queer venue in East London. Those who attended shared similar sentiments. The usual NHS messaging was just not working for them. Participants also wondered what the point of getting more LGBTIQ+ people to attend breast cancer screening was if the people doing the screenings weren’t educated on appropriate care for LGBTIQ+ people.

In response, we developed webinars for Breast Clinics to teach these healthcare professionals about inclusive language, variations in cancer risks faced by our community, and the types of support that can ensure a more positive experience for LGBTIQ+ people attending screening.

“This campaign has not only been about effecting positive change within the community. It has been about addressing the very barriers preventing access to healthcare within the NHS through the delivering of additional training sessions for the breast screening services, so they feel better equipped to support the needs of our LGBTIQ+ communities. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect and knowing that through this campaign more people will be, is incredibly rewarding.”

~Jake Chambers, NELCA Project Manager

We set out to make a campaign that LGBTIQ+ people could truly see themselves in. We wanted to invite our community to screening in a way that felt more positive and comfortable for them. The campaign centres four community champions who share their experiences with Breast Cancer Screening in their own words and guide our community towards better health. 

“In this campaign, we wanted to centre the voices and experiences of the community and involve people from the community at every stage of the process and I feel it manages to do that to great effect.” 

~Jake Chambers, NELCA Project Manager

The campaign is vivid and eye-catching, creating a new visual style that doesn’t repeat previous NHS campaigns. We made a point to feature people from the LGBTIQ+ community – both in front and behind the camera – bringing it to life and delivering vital its message. The campaign webpage provides hints, tips, educational resources, links to medical services, and plenty of advice designed to speak directly to the community it serves.

“Having supported this campaign for some time now, I can’t even begin to say how important is has been as a queer POC woman myself to see other people who look like me talking about Breast Cancer Screening and the importance of taking care of our bodies. Beyond this, it is so nice to see a campaign in this space that isn’t all pink for once and is finally using inclusive language. There was so much about this campaign that hit home to me in ways I never thought it would and I learned so much more than I could have ever expected.” 

~Haarini Sridhar, Digital Communications Officer, Live Through This

On October 6th, the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we had a wonderful launch event at Glass House, Shoreditch in East London where we celebrated the campaign champions, had a lively and thought-provoking live panel discussion and provided an open space for people to mingle and look at the campaign assets.

“The highlight for me will always be the launch day, watching whilst the audience reacted with smiles and excitement as they saw the creative for the first time and listened to the panel on stage. There is so much pride in the team for what we have achieved, and I feel we have been a small part in something that is the beginning of a positive change for the LGBTIQ+ community.” 

~Ellen Chesterman, Account Director, MOBAS

The continuing support from community members and stakeholder organisations for this campaign has been astounding. We are proud to have created something that is really resonating with our community.

“Inclusive campaigns like this are vital for our community as we rarely see ourselves represented in health messaging. As we heard in the launch event panel discussion, our community often feel nervous about attending screening appointments due to the messaging around these being so negative, hyperfeminine, and pink. Best for My Chest is an empowering example of co-creation by and for LGBTIQ+ communities with the potential to create real change for our community.” 

~ Lee Dibben, Education Officer, Live Through This

A big thank you to our champions, all of our focus group members, everyone who was able to make it to the event, and, of course, everyone who worked behind the scenes on this campaign. We could not have done this without you.

“It is very rare to have the opportunity to work on a project where you instantly think ‘this is going to influence real change’; the Best for My Chest campaign was one.”

~Ellen Chesterman, Account Director, MOBAS

1.  Stonewall, 2018

2. Transactual, 2021

3. Fish 2005

4. Hart et al., 2009

5. Margolies 2012