Eric Berger
Feb 27, 2024

F Cancer merges cancer detection and foreplay in campaign

Serious Foreplay encourages romantic partners to check one another’s skin for melanoma.

F Cancer merges cancer detection and foreplay in campaign

Foreplay doesn’t just have to be about dimming the lights and putting on the right music. 

That’s the message of a campaign, Serious Foreplay, that encourages romantic partners to check one another’s skin for possible melanoma. 

F Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing, detecting and helping people with cancer, launched the campaign this year.

“It's a heck of a lot easier to check your skin when you don't have clothes on,” said Scott Moody, director of community and public relations at The Variable, an agency that worked on the campaign pro bono. “We feel like there is an opportunity to turn this into a moment that couples could look forward to [and] turns what feels like a mundane task, but is a critical, life-saving measure, into a really fun and interesting activity.”

Melanoma can often be detected early, when it is most curable, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization encourages people to do skin self-exams in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says that the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.

The F Cancer campaign features “Kamole Sutra” cards that provide instructions via sexual poses on how to conduct an exam. For example, one card is titled “Spread Awareness Eagle” and features a drawing of that pose.

“Not checking for moles doesn’t fly around here!” the text on the card states. “Have your partner lie on their back and lift their legs. You may not be into feet, but be sure to check between their toes for suspicious moles.”

The guide also includes instructions on what such a mole could look like. 

The campaign includes very explicit videos. In one, a man appears as though he is about to perform oral sex on another man and says, “Oh, wow. That is a huge —” A doctor then interrupts and says, “mole.”

He explains that “size matters when it comes to moles,” and “moles bigger than a pencil eraser should be checked out by a doc.”

Moody said the creatives reviewed Instagram's community guidelines and determined that while there were restrictions on gratuitous nudity and sexual activity, “there are provisions for content that serves a health-related purpose, such as educational posts about cancer awareness, breastfeeding and childbirth, and this campaign and content aligns with those exceptions.”

He acknowledged that interpretations of the rules could vary and that Instagram could review and remove some of the posts.

“We don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing,” Moody said. F Cancer “is committed to sparking meaningful conversations and challenging norms to elevate cancer awareness. If some of our content gets flagged for being too edgy, that also means it is working and getting people to notice.”

To promote the campaign, the organization also hired influencers Dr. Carlton Thomas, a gastroenterologist who promotes queer health and Danielle Bezalel, a sexual health education expert who hosts the podcast “Sex Ed with DB.”


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