The SCAR Project – A Look at Breast Amputees

Barbie (1) Courtesy of David Jay Bridgette. Courtesy of David Jay Elisa. Courtesy of David Jay There are many variables that go into a woman’s ability or willingness to have reconstruction following a mastectomy. I have had a successful reconstruction and then I had two failures. I know that adds up to three, but all of that activity was on the same breast. Like I said, a lot of variables…

The pain can be both physical and emotional, just look into some of these women’s eyes. I personally can’t stop thinking about the breast that I lost because the area where it used to be hurts all of the time. There is a possibility that more surgeries could alleviate the pain and maybe even put me back together again. However there is also the possibility that the surgeries could fail and I could end up worse off than I am now.

I began to wonder if there were other women like me out there who were struggling with the aftermath of breast cancer treatments and the realities of what it does to our bodies and our personalities? I also wondered if there was anyone out there who was willing to talk about and expose the shockingly raw realities of breast cancer? Lets cut the crap with the pink ribbons and the movie star smiles and have a game of show and tell.

Courtesy of David JayI came across The SCAR Project by fashion photographer David Jay. Two things impressed me right away; the first being that David is a man. The second is that he started an awareness campaign to shed light on what women really look like following a mastectomy, and encouraged them to feel empowered, instead of  ashamed. It’s somewhat of an oxymoron; a man empowering women to feel beautiful because of her disfigured breasts. Breasts are the quintessential symbol of femininity, and men have made it abundantly clear to us women how much they love perfect breasts. So much so, that we women have spent billions of dollars to augment our breasts to make their appearance desirable to men. And then to top it off, we oblige societies love affair with breasts by parading them around like balloons on Thanksgiving Day . Jolene and Kyle. Courtesy of David Jay

But what happens when the breasts need to be amputated to save your life? What if reconstruction is not wanted, not possible or not available because the woman doesn’t have insurance? For most of us women a part of our sexuality and confidence is lost with those mastectomized breasts. David found that by photographing women for the SCAR Project helped them to reclaim their femininity, their sexuality, and some of the power that they had been robbed of.

Kristen. Courtesy of David JayTo me, these pictures represent a small shift in society’s acceptance of a tribe of scarred, breastless and one breasted women. Since 1 and 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, this tribe that I currently belong to is growing. Exposure will help women like me to accept what we might not be able to change. Perhaps fashion designers will make a bra for women with one breast so we don’t have to wear an external device to appear “normal.” What if not having breasts or having one breast becomes acceptable? What if it is seen as a badge of honor and strength? What if we could tone down our obsession with breasts just a little bit? I appreciate David for helping us to see this through a different lense. Jill. Courtesy of David Jay

Please check out the SCAR Project at for more photos and information.

16 thoughts on “The SCAR Project – A Look at Breast Amputees

  1. These photos get to me every time. I want to cry and smile and laugh and hide. They’re so powerful that way. I hope all is well with you in 2014, (found your blog through Nicole’s post from My Fabulous Boobies) ~Catherine

  2. Thank you for sharing the Scar Project. Reality is what it is. Like you said no pink ribbon or celebrities smiling. You continue to inspire me. Thanks for sharing the honest truth about mastectomies. You rock Trina Schilling!

  3. Trina, I just got myself caught up on your most recent posts! You are an inspiration and I truly love reading the stories of your sister survivors! What a beautiful blog…it tells a story that we don’t get to ever hear or see. Love you girl!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful information. I have been proud of my lumpectomy scar, it IS my badge of honor. Now facing a bilateral mastectomy in 11 days I hope I will feel the same with that. I know you of anyone understand my fears.

  5. Hello Trina
    My experience with mastectomy has been tough. I had cancer in 2010 and since then I have had 6 surgeries. On March 4 I had a mastectomy and got silicones. Everything was alright until my breast that had cancer and therefore had radiotherapy did not healed well so they had to take off my silicone. Today I hope to have surgery again, once the skin regenerates and is healthy, so they can put the silicone again. I dont know if this will work, hope so, but it has been very difficult to get used to the idea of having only one breast, it was always my big nightmare. The cancer changes people and makes us women to see life differently. It’s not easy, but today when I look myself in the mirror I see a scar, the scar left after my battle against cancer. I admire this wonderful work they have done with the pictures …. these women are fighters, exposing their greatest fear, their scar in life. Do not give up, we must keep fighting even if it´s not easy. The day by day is sometimes traumatic but fighting is our only option. I have the luck to have insurance that covers me everything from operations to silicones, but I know it is not like that for everyone. Society should be aware of this disease seriously and give appropriate treatments for every woman in earth. Thanks for sharing this article and i send a lot of strength, light and blessings to ALL women who have gone through breast cancer. Love (Carlota – Argentina)

    • Oh Carlota, the same thing happened to me and I am one breasted because too, welcome to my tribe. Hopefully you and I can have successful reconstruction down the road, in the meantime, know you are not alone my sister. xoxoxo

  6. Thank you Trina. I think education through traumatic photos is a good thing. Very educational, and inspiring. I know it’s a terrible thing for one to lose one’s breasts, but it’s really beter than the potential alternative, and life will go on. Life has always been a delicate balancing act, and sometimes, we as mortals end up with diseases that can bring us down, without drastic evasive action. I know it might not be a good choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice. My heart goes out to those women, but, hopefully in their twilight years they will still get to experience the wonders of nature. The unprejiduce~unconditional love of their Grandchildren! At the moment I’m soaking it up. Hang in there~I wish you all the best!

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