This is Aniela McGuinness, a 32-year-old actress living in Hollywood, Florida who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2014.
On the last MRI before her surgery, they found something. The biopsy results came back with stage 1 ductal breast cancer (ER/PR positive, HER2 negative, grade 3). “In a strange way it was comforting,” said McGuinness. “I didn’t have to question if I was making the right choice by removing them.”
She decided to document the experience — from before her mastectomy to after reconstruction surgery — with an unconventional photo series.
“When you see mastectomy photos — whether they’re artsy ones or medical before-and-after photos — they’re usually really serious,” said McGuinness. “It’s usually soft lifting, flowing fabric, and maybe a rose placed near the breast. I was just kind of sick of that.”
“I wanted something to shake people up,” said McGuinness.
“I haven’t just gone through it, I’ve been there with my mom who died of it. I understand how hard this can be,” said McGuinness. Still, she wanted to show another kind of experience — one that people may not be used to seeing.