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Tattoos for Breast Cancer Survivors

Updated on June 22, 2011

It's the HubMobsters Again!

Body Art

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Body Painting

Personal Opinions on Tattoos

Body art like healthcare renders strong opinions that can create heated arguments from those for tattooing and those that are against it. Some of the opinions for body art are that it’s your body and you can do what you want with it; to it being a freedom of speech and you have a right to express yourself the way you choose. Opinions against body art are that it is taboo to some religious beliefs; many parents think that it is primitive and view it as a “bad boy” or “bad girl” feat usually tied to gangs, drugs, and or rock n roll.

My own personal opinion is that if you choose to have one; think about the future before you do it. With today’s global technology people should have learned from personal experience or their friends and family that love does not always last forever. So placing that special someone’s name all over your body – just may not be a wise decision. If you are like me and have not had much success in the love forever department; you might find yourself removing several names.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of permanent ink, do not choose to endure the pain, don’t like needles or wish to risk infection; so I don’t have one. However, if I were to get body art it would be discreet, tasteful, and nothing all over my body. Again, this comes from wisdom of working in several office environments and being familiar with how Corporate America negates “what it takes to be a successful person.” Nonetheless, I respect your opinion and if you want to tattoo yourself from head to toe, by all means go for it…

Tattoo Parlors Raising Cancer Awareness

Permanent Eyebrow Makeup

Breast Cancer Survivor Tattoos

With October being NBCAM (national breast cancer awareness month), I wanted to write a hub honoring my sister, Marilyn who lost her battle with breast cancer on March 28, ‘97. Being fairly new to the HubMob, I have been frantically attempting each week to keep up with the chosen topics. I was elated when I saw this week’s topic because a week ago, I was fascinated by the end of a news clip concerning breast cancer survivors and tattooing. Some survivors are tattooing over scars on their chests, while others are getting tattoos and body painting for cosmetic reasons.

Many times harsh radiation and chemotherapy leaves an individual without eyelashes, eyebrows, and causes severe hair loss. Some individuals feel saddened or self-conscious about their looks during this time so many have resorted to improving their looks by having eyebrows tattooed in, getting a tattoo to camouflage the area when the areola and nipple are removed during a mastectomy, and wearing human hair wigs. I guess you can surmise that breast cancer survivors are rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence by tattooing “the girls” as termed by Oprah and numerous others. Some survivors are getting modest tattoos of the pink breast cancer ribbons to remind them of their journey while others are choosing to go all out with the tattooing and body paint.

Susan’s Survivor Experience

The Importance of Open-mindedness

Unfortunately, no matter how much the family told my sister just how beautiful she was still. The weight gain from the steroids, and the surgical changes that this cruel disease did to her body caused Marilyn to struggle with those demons that consume you with “feelings of inadequacy.” Yes, I refer to those thoughts as demons because as women we are already way too critical of how we look and feel about ourselves when our bodies are in a healthy state. I can only imagine how my sister must have felt, but in all honesty she was truly beautiful and my hero for the six years that she survived the disease. For this reason I know it is important to always remain open-minded to new ideas. If my sister was still living and wanted to have the body tattoos done, as long as it had been proven to be safe I would support her decision 100 percent.

The Rules…

According to Tattoo there is Seven Steps to the Perfect Tattoo that everyone contemplating their first tattoo should do to avoid some common mistakes. You can read the article in detail at the link provided, however a summary of those seven steps are as follows:

1. Be in The Right Frame of Mind - Never get tattooed under pressure.

2. Your First Decision is to Select the Right Design -It should be something that you love.

3. Use High Quality Tattoo Stencils - The most important step is to make sure the artist uses the best materials available to perform the job.

4. Test Drive Your Tattoo – You can adjust for size, placement, and see what your tattoo will look like prior to it becoming permanent.

5. Finding the Right Artist - Be responsible and find a reputable qualified professional.

6. Appointment Day – The better you sit, the better your tattoo; so be well nourished and get plenty of rest the night before your appointment.

7. Caring For Your New Tattoo – No tattoo is finished until the healing is complete!

One article I read states that many breast cancer survivors are looking into what has been termed, “the healing art of tattoos.” One would have to think that perhaps the art of healing is being generated from a sense of well being about improving and or changing one’s appearance. As you know a scar from any circumstance in life is a constant reminder of the event or situation that occurred.

I can only imagine that while the scarring from breast cancer should be deemed as a positive sign of life, survival, and being a winner. Unfortunately, my sister use to tell me that at times her scar reminded her still of feared death and felt despair. So, if you are interested in getting a tattoo for whatever reason, I’ve included lots of links that discuss tattoo ideas and show numerous tattoos that can be used. Some sites are even equipped for you to print out the tattoo that you like and will even offer insight as to where you can get your tattoos done.

I like to say again that Tattoos for Breast Cancer Survivors was written in honor of my sister who lost her fight to the crippling disease of breast cancer. The intention of this hub is to raise awareness to breast cancer and the fact that we still need to find a cure. In addition it is to provide some insight to alternatives that some breast cancer survivors may not have been aware existed. However, it is not my intention to neither encourage nor discourage any individual from getting a tattoo. If you are just doing research about the pros and cons of tattoos then I suggest that you also read articles like Tattoos-Health Risks and Toxic Effects by rmcrayne, in addition to the other links found here.

More Body Art

To Breast Cancer Survivors and Loved Ones...


Note:  While this article focuses on women it is important to remember that a small percentage of men (1%) develop breast cancer as well.  Although breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men; male breast cancer does exist.  As with women this cancer can occur at any age, however, most breast cancer in men are detected between the ages of 60 and 70.

This concludes Tattoos for Breast Cancer Survivors, I sincerely hope you have found this article to be informative and or useful to you and or a loved one. If you have a tattoo in honor of and or because you are a breast cancer survivor please leave a comment. As with all articles comments are always welcomed...

Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub is to bring awareness to breast cancer, and for informational purposes of how some breast cancer survivors and or their family and friends are using tattoos and other body art to provide a positive outlook on this deadly disease. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before engaging in any body art and or tattooing, you should do your own research, and then consult your present physician if you are a breast cancer survivor.


In Memory of My Sister, to All Survivors, & Finding A Cure...


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    • profile image

      D. McGuin 6 years ago

      I think that breast tattooing is beautiful. I would only urge those with lymphedema as a result of the surgery, to ask their Lymphatic RMT what they think.

      Mine said no as needles in the affected area are a really bad idea.

    • profile image

      SANDRA TUMBLING 6 years ago


    • profile image

      sierra 6 years ago

      A year ago I was diagnosed wig breast cancer, but I beat it! I put a Tattoo over the scar on my breast. It really represented the fact that I beat this. I am in control of my body.

      This is a great piece. Thank you

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Conni for stopping by and sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Conni 6 years ago

      I did it and i feel great.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the read. :)

    • escribir profile image

      escribir 7 years ago

      very informative and interesting

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Hi butterfly, I'm not sure that everyone agrees with this idea, some question if it the ink is healthy for the cancer survivors. However,thanks for the read and comments. :)

    • butterfly Tattoo profile image

      butterfly Tattoo 7 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Tattoos after surgery is one of the few things that everybody agrees is a good thing

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • toneyahuja profile image

      toneyahuja 7 years ago from India

      I am agree tatoos for breast cancer survivors it is nice one Cancer,Breast cancer treatments, stages breast cancer

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      I agree Billy thanks for stopping by for a read and commenting:)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      A great hub and nice to see a positive outcome for cancer survivors.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing comments on your experience. I hope everything works out for you...

    • profile image

      hardtail 7 years ago

      i just got my tattoo on my cancer arm and it has been very apinful and hard to heal.. i have my whole back done and this has been a lymphs to word of infection , so becareful...don't to the lymph arm...duh!!!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Hi Has_aWayWithWords, what a cute little avatar!:) Yes, I am sooo glad to see the success of both of these organizations keeping the fight for breast cancer on the forefront of everyone's mind. Although, my sister loss her battle I still support both races. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • Has_aWayWithWords profile image

      Has_aWayWithWords 8 years ago from United States

      Great hub, My ex wife battled breast cancer starting when she was 24. Speaking of which relay for life and race for the cure are coming up this spring.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Hi callmesplash7, it's great to meet you. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      callmesplash7 8 years ago

      I really like this hub, great for you to share it! :O)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      It was an honor to do this hub in remembrance of my sister, and to all breast cancer survivors. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • kimbaustin profile image

      kimbaustin 8 years ago from Sunny California

      Thanks for bringing awareness to this important issue of women self esteem and taking a stand.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      I agree Simply Tim, the survivors are all heroines that deserve only the best!

      Lily Rose, I thought about you when I was writing this hub and I wondered if you knew about the tattooing. From your writing and your smiling picture, you seem to have such a beautiful, free-loving spirit that your inner beauty will always shine so brightly that people will be blinded to what they see on the outside. But, do whatever makes you feel good about yourself!

      Thank you both for commenting on my hub.

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      Very interesting info. I am actually contemplating tattooing. I had bilateral mastectomies 8 months ago and am about to get my new nipples in 3 weeks and I have to decide if I want to get the areola tattooing. I'm also wanting to get another tattoo to commemorate my getting through the past year and a half.

      It is definitely a self esteem thing with me, although I know a tattoo won't make me feel any better about my new larger body, but it's something I really want to do. I, like your sister, gained a lot of weight during treatment from all the steroids and such, and now I have a slow functioning thyroid from radiation and can't seem to get the weight off, but that's going a little off-topic.

      Thanks for the great hub!

    • Simple Tim profile image

      Simple Tim 8 years ago

      Excellent hub! This offers a great alternative for breast cancer survivors to have more than just a scar to remind them of their courageous battle. After witnessing a family member fight cancer-these heroines deserve only the best!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      I agree rmcrayne that I don't think there has been any studies performed on how the body reacts to the toxins from tattooing. Thanks for becoming a fan and commenting!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      What a unique prospective/topic for HubMob. As you hinted about safety, for me, I remain unconvinced about the harmlessness of tatoos. I think toxins have to make their way into the body.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Anath & myownworld, I agree with you both. I am glad to see there are more ways now to help survivors rebuild their confidence after surgery. Thanks for the comments!

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      an amazing hub.... I never knew tattoos could be used to for cosmetic reasons by cancer patients. fascinating! thank you for sharing.

    • Anath profile image

      Anath 8 years ago

      This is a very good idea. Anything that might boost the morale of people fighting a terrible disease. Tattooing a scar sounds to me like a good way to "tell" the disease that it is not going to win the battle, because YOU are in control of your body.