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Ex Miss Venezuela's book on her breast cancer battle breaks taboos

February 22, 2011 - Melbourne

Former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall's book on her battle with Breast cancer has encouraged other women to seek breast examinations.

Ekvall, 27, who is featured in a new book of photos called, 'Fuera de Foco' (Out of Focus), looks in her own words, "not pretty at all", with her bald, sick, puffy and exhausted appearance.

The book chronicles the former beauty queen and TV presenter's battle with Breast cancer, a gruelling eight-month regime of chemotherapy and radiation and a mastectomy.

It has broken taboos about female beauty and moved br**ts from the realm of aesthetics to that of health and disease.

"The pictures were very shocking because nobody had ever seen me that way. Nobody had seen me bald, without make-up," the Age quoted Ekvall, who is now recovered, as saying.

She has become an outspoken advocate for a cancer awareness group, SenosAyuda, and is credited with a reported surge in women seeking breast examinations.

Ekvall was diagnosed with advanced cancer last February and finished treatment in October. She had noticed a lump months earlier but attributed it to her Pregnancy.

"I was very angry when diagnosed because I should have known. My aunt had Breast cancer twice and my grandmother died from breast cancer. I just let time go," she stated.

Ekvall, who was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2000, said Venezuelan women rushed to get cosmetic surgery but needed encouragement to get mammograms.

"There's a huge taboo around Breast cancer. But in this country people get their b**bs done every day, so I don't understand how breast cancer can be a problem when everybody's showing their br**ts," she said.

Her blunt and in some places breezy description of the disease, mastectomy and reconstructive surgery has made the book a bestseller.

"When I got sick and knew my br**ts were sick, it's like I didn't want them any more. I wasn't fond of them. I was angry at them. So getting rid of them, even though it was horrible because I had all these scars, meant I felt better," she had written.

Ekvall, a journalism graduate, wrote the book based on emails to friends and family and memories prompted by the photos.


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