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One of sixteen men and women who have bared their scars as part of a project called 'Defiance'.

Steve McAllister, 67, from Cardiff, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. [Photo: Ami Barwell/PA Wire]

Defiant cancer patients reveal surgery scars in moving photo series

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Cancer patients have revealed their surgery scars as part of a new photo series aiming to depict the “gritty and raw reality” of the illness.

Some 16 men and women took part in the “Defiance” project, released as part of Cancer Research UK and Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer fundraising campaign.

Photographer Ami Barwell, who took the images, called the project an “act of rebellion”.

She said: “Cancer isn't pretty, it can be dark, painful and destructive. But we aren't playing to cancer's rules. These people are strong, beautiful and, most of all, defiant.”

READ MORE: Women ditch their bras for breast cancer awareness

Barwell previously shot the “Mastectomy” project in 2017, which was inspired by her mother undergoing the surgery after suffering from breast cancer twice.

She said: “My previous Mastectomy series was inspired by my mum, who has had breast cancer twice, and a mastectomy, so this was a subject very close to my heart.

“I wanted to raise as much awareness for breast cancer as possible, showing women baring their scars in a series of gritty and honest portraits. I received emails from women worldwide explaining how my photographs had inspired them and given them strength.

READ MORE: Two women with incurable breast cancer set up 'Secondary Sisters' support group

“For many, these were the first photographs they'd seen showing women post-mastectomy as beautiful, sexy, strong and amazing. I knew I had to carry on raising awareness with Stand Up To Cancer and empowering people through my photographs.”

One in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, according to the NHS. In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are breast cancer; lung cancer; prostate cancer; and bowel cancer.

Cancer Support UK offers physical and emotional support to people with all kinds of cancer across the UK.