Tattoos and Lymph Issues


I’m working on some tattoo ideas, for when my body has stopped healing (18 days to go till my silicone implants are installed woohoo)

I was wondering if any of you have had any tattoo work after your surgeries, and what precautions you took to prevent the onset of lymphodema (sp?) I know that our oncologists will protest a lot about having body modifications done, but there has to be some people out there who have had tattoos after surgery and this has been okay?

The only way I feel I can deal with these alien things in my body is to stamp some sort of personal identity onto them… if that makes sense.

Any comments greatly appreciated!! Naturally I’m not thinking of getting any ink work done for the next 18 months or so… but it does no harm to plan ahead!!

Thanks x

My onc was telling me about a lady he looked after who had a lady and a dragon tattooed on her breast once she had had reconstructive surgery, instead of going for having a fake nipple. He seemed rather amused as she’d sent him a photo! LOL! I thought that was very cool. And the onc didn’t seem bothered. (Indeed, he didn’t seem to see it as any different to having a fake nipple tattooed in nipple colour!)

My current fancy is to have a pentacle instead of a nipple - not the witchy way up but the good/protective sort - with a border of some sort. Senior daughter thinks it sounds really sweet.

Think I’m a bit like you for attitude - I don’t want to pretend that what has happened is natural but I want to be on good terms with my new body because, try as I might, I’ll never bring the old one back so I have to love the one I’m in. A bit of personalisation will help my half-booby be mine. (‘Only’ had a WLE so not as drastic as yours sounds.)

As for tats, do you already have some or have any friends with really good ones? If you know a really good tattoo artist, they will talk to you and draw up something unique based on your ideas. My hubby has several unique tattoos that he worked on with his tattooist so I’ll be off to see Julie as soon as my onc starts on the reconstruction talk. While I’m there, I’m going to have 2 cala lillies (taken from photos of my wedding bouquet) fastened together by a pink ‘breast cancer’ ribbon on my left shoulder. From what I’ve seen with our friends, the tats people regret tend to be the ones from a book that they picked in the studio, rather than something carefully designed and planned.

I think it’s great that you’re planning something positive for you and your new body. I hope your implants look great! You go, girl!


thank you for your comments!! i already have several tattoos (8 to be precise) and had lots of plans to have half sleeves on my arms… now there’s the risk of lymphodema, I’m naturally being cautious. I have spoken with a tattoo artist (who had breast cancer herself) and she has advised that as long as I don’t overdo it, as in ‘only have small sessions on my arms’ then i should be okay. my body has fantastic healing rates anyway…

The lillies and ribbon idea sounds lovely - i had calas at my wedding too! i do want a tattoo to represent the cancer and the journey i’ve been through - not sure what yet…

good luck with yours!!


Does anyone know if tattos are not recommended if you have secondaries? I’m want to get one seeing as I have got so used to needles over the last few months and it cant hurt anymore than having needles into the back of your hand.

Id like one on my arm or shoulder - A celtic bat would look good

Loved the story of the onc with photo of tattoo very funny :slight_smile:


I can’t imagine that tattoos would necessarily be a problem if you have secondaries unless you wanted one near a secondary. Trouble is, you won’t get a sensible answer if you ask at most hospitals. Liking the bat idea.

I’ve been havering about getting a tattoo for years but keep thinking it’s a bit ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ when you’re in your 40’s…but getting breast cancer has made me think, ‘WTF. You only live once!’

Half sleeves are one heck of a commitment poannie! Are you planning round a theme? Your tattoist sounds like a good person to know - very sympathetic.

It’s the weirdest thing!!! Just the other night I had the craziest dream that I had tattoos done all down my breast cancer arm from shoulder to wrist. They were really ace too!!! It must be a sign lol !!!