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Cancer tattoos have been growing in popularity since the last decade. They have become a way for people to remember their treatment and to show the world how proud they are of their battle with cancer. If you have a tattoo, the ink may contain a carcinogen, a substance that causes cancer. The best practice is to communicate with your doctor to determine whether or not a tattoo is a good idea for you.
It’s currently not known if having a tattoo on your breast or chest increases the risk of developing lymphoedema in that area. Lymphoedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the surface tissues of the body which causes swelling. It’s caused by damage to the lymphatic system. It’s not clear why some people develop lymphoedema and some don’t but it’s thought infection and further damage to the lymphatic system may play a part. (Source: breastcancernow.org)
The introduction in the dermis of exogenous pigments and dyes to obtain a permanent design (tattooing) represents a unique in-vivo situation, where a large amount of metallic salts and organic dyes remain in the skin for the lifetime of the bearer. The potential local and systemic carcinogenic effects of tattoos and tattoo inks remain unclear. Several studies have shed light on the presence of potential carcinogenic or procarcinogenic products in tattoo inks. We extensively reviewed the literature and found 50 cases of skin cancer on tattoos: 23 cases of squamous-cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma, 16 cases of melanoma, and 11 cases of basal-cell carcinoma. The number of skin cancers arising in tattoos is seemingly low, and this association has to be considered thus far as coincidental. (Source: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
Reports of skin cancer developing from tattoos are rare, and it’s often hard to say why they occurred. Recent examples of skin cancer after a tattoo include case reports, or individual patient descriptions, of basal cell carcinoma forming in an eyebrow tattoo and another of it forming in a back tattoo. There have also been reports of melanoma forming in tattoos. However, randomized, controlled clinical trials, which are the gold standard of cancer research, have not yet studied whether a link exists between skin cancer and tattoos.