If you're living with a diagnosis of breast cancer and are currently in treatment or remission after a mastectomy, getting a tattoo is likely one of the furthest things from your mind. However, a number of women around the world testify that they have finally been made whole after their mastectomies by employing the services of a licensed tattoo artist. Read on to learn more about the types of tattoos these women find so therapeutic, as well as what you should keep in mind when considering getting a tattoo of your own.
In most cases, removing the breast tissue through mastectomy or double mastectomy also requires the removal of your nipple, as it may harbor cancer cells. Whether or not you're having your breast reconstructed through implants, you may want the appearance of your old breasts back. A talented tattoo artist can create lifelike nipples on one or both breasts during a short session. If you've had a double mastectomy, the first time in your life, you'll also be able to choose the size and shape of your new nipples! And if you've only had a single mastectomy, your tattoo artist should be able to exactly match the appearance of your current nipple.
If you're not interested in regaining the former look of your breasts, you may be more interested in using this art to denote your status as a breast cancer survivor. These tattoos often incorporate the scar itself, and have been designed to look like everything from flowers to a lifelike bra to cartoon characters. Many survivors design their own tattoos, while others depend on the artistic expertise of the tattooer to determine how large the tattoo should be and what colors should be used.
How long should you wait after your mastectomy to seek a tattoo?
Although these tattoos are incredibly therapeutic for most women, there are some medical considerations you'll need to keep in mind before seeking a tattoo. If you've had radiation treatment, you'll want to speak to your technician to determine whether your skin is in good enough shape for a tattoo. In some cases, getting a tattoo after only a brief period of time has passed from the last radiation treatment has resulted in a sloughing or shedding of the outer skin layers, reducing the appearance of the tattoo.
You'll also need to consult with your oncologist to determine whether your immune system can handle getting a tattoo -- and if not, how long you may need to wait. Although getting a tattoo generally results in a very minor disruption to the immune system, when this system has been weakened by chemotherapy treatments, a too-soon tattoo can cause complications. If this sounds like a good idea to you, visit a local parlor like American Tattoo Studio.