Hi everyone.

I am still doing chemo at the moment but have rads scheduled. I was really upset to learn about the pinprick tattoos, and I wondered if there are any alternatives. Haven’t had a conversation with the onc or the rad staff yet, but I thought if I got some info about any other options first I would be better armed for a tussle.

I don’t know if the area to be treated makes any difference. I have had a mastectomy and clearance - 3 out of 5 nodes affected.

Thanks so much for anyone’s opinions or stories, Helen.

Hi Helen,

i have just started my rads had 2nd one last week.I have had chemo and WLE the rads are alot than chemo easier so far. The pinprick tattoos are really nothing they are hardly noticible.I have to go for rads one week it is two days then the next week 3 days with days off inbetween. Apparently the skin can break down but i have my fingers crossed it won’t happen, they give you aqueous cream to put on breast and advise you not to use deodorant / perfumed products on side to have rads.

I don’t know if there are any alternatives to pinprick tattoos but they really are very small, i have one on chest and the others are either side under each armpit almost, you cannot notice them.

Best of luck

Hi Helen,
There have been a few threads on this topic before and I know that one lady chose not to have one done, I’ll try and find the thread. I must say that I hated the thought of being marked for life as I don’t like tatoos.
For some weeks after it really annoyed me as I saw it as a constant reminder and sometimes I used to put a dab of makeup on them.
Now, 6 months after rads, I seldom think about them. I have one in my cleavage, or where it would have been as I had a mastectomy and the other under my arm pit. Mine are blue/ black, colour was also a topic of conversation on another thread!!.
All the best for your treatment.
Magsi x

Mole didn’t have tattoos.


Dear all

I refused tattoos as I didn’t like the idea of them. however, I have found out you can have them lasered off if you want. they like them so they know where the radiotherapy was done. for me they put a large black marker pen mark on my chest with some clear plastic sellotape over it which I had to keep dry for about two months as my radiotherapy planning session was months ahead of my radiotherapy. It was ok keeping it dry because I did not want to have tattoos under any circumstances. i’ve got enough scars and blackheads from acne, don’t need any more

power to the people we should say no instead of doing things we don’t like.


I have just brought up a thread called 'Anger now where did that come from?, quite a bit of talk about tatoos on the first few pages and I think its Molenium who writes about not having a tatoo.
Hope you find it useful
M x

Thanks RMW26 you beat me to it!

I had my tattos done yesterday for rads starting on the 19th. On the grand scale of things they are not bad and easily covered up with a dab of foundation/spot cover up stick.


Hi everyone, Im new to this computer marlarkee but have been reading all the comments and found them really helpful and informative. When I went for my results last week (I have had a double masectomy and some lymph nodes removed) and got the all clear - I could have flown out the hospital with relief! I have to go for 3 weeks of radiotherapy sometime soon - but now I find that a feeling of depression keeps wafting over me, and I have to go off somewhere and howl- is that normal??!! Am also worried about the tablets I have been prescribed Arimidex?

FWIW, I’m sixteen years out from my tattooing and radiotherapy and they’re barely visible.
However, when I was diagnosed with a second primary this year, it was handy that they were still there as they mark out the area where you shouldn’t have a second dose of radiotherapy.


I had 5 tattoos, as I had rads to the supraclavicular nodes as well as chest wall, it should have been 6 but I refused the one that would have been most visible. Unfortunately the 2 beneath the clavicle are the largest and most noticeable (sods law eh!). It might sound ridiculous in the scheme of things but when I saw them I was very upset, I hate them!!! I’m intending to get them removed by laser and have been given the number of a clinic by my plastic surgeon.
A friend of mine had rads and her tattoos are tiny and barely noticeable so it seems to be luck of the draw!
Claire x

There is a way of having rads without the tattoos. I was offered this when I got visibly upset about the thought of having tattoos. I’m so sorry that I can’t remember now what would have happened, but, I was definitely offered an alternative.
The only reason that I went ahead with the tatoos was because not having them done would have caused further delay in my treatment.

Hi all

I have 4 tattoos - they are small but black - if I could turn the clock back i would have found out if there is any way they could have been brown

love FB xxx Good luck

I got 3 tattoos and have to say they are so minute that I can hardly see them even though I know exactly where they are.

I did enquire with a local tattooist about the cost of having them removed…I was told that each tattoo would probably need 3 sessions to remove them at £60 per session per tattoo … I decided to keep the tats!

Hi lilac
Do you know whether you are allowed a proper tattoo over the top,If so I’m goimg to get a shammrock for luck


I can barely see mine

i have three tattoos i dont like them but was told it would make each visit for radiotherapy quicker so had it done ive just finished radiotherapy and under my arm is very red and sore cant even apply the cream i was given nas anyone else had this any tips on what to do to help

Sandra make sure that you let the air circulate around it by wearing just a cotton top whenever possible. I was told that when sitting to rest my arm on a cushion in the same position that it was raised for the rads [if possible] and again without covering.

hi margaret
thanks will try that,are you finished all your treatment how are you doing

I have three tattoos and hate them…especially the one that is in the centre of my chest where my cleavage once was. It is blue black and looks exactly like a large blackhead.

I did enquire whether it was possible to have brown ink, so that they would look more like freckles, but no, only India ink is used. The consultant radiologist said that they had considered using henna as so many women objected to the tattoo-ing, but the feeling was it wouldn’t be long lasting enough.

I feel that it’s bad enough having the disfigurement of mastectomy without having these horrible dots over my body!


Walton - I’m not sure about whether you can have a proper tattoo over the top but I can’t think of any reason why not, after all some ladies get nipples tattooed on. Obviously tattoos on the arm that has had nodes removed is a no-go and if you do go ahead with the tattoo idea I would advise that you seek professional advice first (1st port of call would be the rads team for advice if it were me)got to a reputable tattooist and leave it for a good while to make sure your skin has completely recovered from the rads.

Focus - the armpit is really sore when it starts to burn - that was my worst area. A few ladies have found blowing a fan or a hairdrier on cool setting onto the affected area has helped. Also try putting the cream in the fridge to cool it before applying. If the skin has started to break down you may need a different one - I split on my colalrbone and under my arm and they gave me intra-site gel for these areas … it came in a sealed cap thing with a sort of spout whcih meant you just squeezed the bottom and the gel came out of the top bit, no need to actually touch the skin, after it was applied you just put a non-adhesive dressing on (means sleeping with a bra on to hold the dressing in place but worth it for the releif). Speak to the rads team on your next visit or ask them to refer you to the nurse … my rads unit had skin care nurses as well as breast care nurses, both of which could be seen on the day - just mean sitting in a queue and a bit of a wait if they were busy.

Good luck to all in rad and about to start rads.

Yeah I will ask them first and will wait a good 12mths anyway.

thanks Eleanor