My onc has said that my rads tattoos dont have to be permanent!!!
She has referred me to a plastic surgeon who can remove them by laser on the nhs!
No blue smudges in summer tops this year!
I really wish I had read this before last week. Nottingham City Hospital said that it could compromise my treatment if a tattoo was not used. In fact they were quite arsy about it wanting to know how I knew that I could have treatment without it, but I felt so intimidated in the end I gave in. Had I read some of the articles on here I would have been better prepared and would not have two marks that could have avoided and not been reduced to tears(not something I do very easily).
I've just found out today that I'm going for my planning tis wednesday, I'd rung one of the radiotherapy nurses with yet more questions and she had contacted the booking department for me. I asked her about brown ink but she said they only use blue/black because it stands out better which is needed for accuracy. She did however say that if I wanted to have them lasered off afterwards they could do that at a differant hospital on the NHS.
I SUPPOSE, COME WEDNESDAY, MY BODY WILL BE LESS A TEMPLE, MORE A TEMPLATE!!!!!!!!!!
Just had my radiation consultation today at the Marsden and asked to have temporary marks as two of my dots will be very visible. The onc drew an example of how big they'd be and they are a million times bigger than a pin-prick!
It does seem trivial to make a fuss and I'm sure the medics want to strangle those of us who don't want obvious, permanant marks, but if it's not necessary, why have them? The onc pointed out to me I wouldn't be able to swim during treatment as if that was an enormous problem, which I think I can just about cope with!
Hi Just wanted to say I didn't want a permanent blue mark as I am very fair. The hospital did try to tell me they would be hard to see but I still was against it. Eventually they agreed to draw the marks on with a special pen and cover them with clear tape. You have to be careful when washing and the crosses are huge but they wash off afterwards.
For anyone that hasn't had them yet, the one dot on my front is so low it comes below my bra line. I appreciate it depends where your tumour was (mine was right at the front of my clevage, high up, visible in average shirt neckline). The tattoo will never show in a neckline, its too low. It won't even show in a swimsuit.
I might still get it zapped off afterwards. Not sure yet.
Bird - that is exactly how I felt! I may be 46 but I'd still like to show off my cleavage now and again!
Bannibug - I think you're right about the professionals not understanding what we're making a fuss about. The reaction I got was one of surprise that it was an issue for me. Stick to your guns!
Fitgirl - so hard sometimes to make your voice heard. I was just ignored rather than made to feel guilty but both of those do nothing for your self-esteem.
Maybe we should just join the dots and turn them into something.
My daughter thinks a flower would be nice. I'm thinking more skull and crossbones..
I remember reading somewhere on here that brown tattoos are done at some hospitals, and as you say they look more like a natural freckle. Unfortunately due to the useless search facility on these forums I haven't been able to find the earlier reference to them.
Try asking - it's obviously possible.
I intend to ask if they can do mine in brown ink even if it means me providing it myself, I don't have any freckles on my chest so it would still stand out ,but not look so unnatural.Don't suppose I'll be able to, wonder if the professionals think it's over reaction considering they are helping to save our lives?Bring on the blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry, but your comment was sooo funny! Your post really made me laugh. In a way it's soo good to read comments that are just what you've thought yourself, tho i'm sorry you are so upset about it. Some of my family could not believe that i was so upset about a black head tattoo in the front of my chest - i can't see the other two at the sides. But, like you, i was so annoyed about it. I just felt that it was another thing to put up with, blue boob, two scars, a dent and now a blackhead... But, i've asked my surgeon to remove it when i have Lipofilling done, so i hope it will not look worse!!!!!!
You should have been given a consent form by your onc. I told mine i didn't want them but basically was made to feel guilty and went ahead, i'm sorry now. I know it's irrational compared to what we have etc but i don't care, i still don't want it!
Hope you calm down and consider that it can be removed!
Take care. x
OMG!!! I don't know why this has taken me so long to realise - but FFS these hideous black dots are permanent!!! B******s! This is surprising seeing as I have 4 proper tattoos!! Numptey!! I wish mine were hardly visible pin pricks - more like a felt tip splodge!!! The ones on each side aren't that bad cuz I can't see them, but the one in the middle of my chest looks like a big black head - thats exactly what my husband said when I got home - lovely!! I had it in my head that these dots would wear off eventually. At no point was I told that I would be stuck with these dots for ever!!!! I am bit p****d off about that actually. I know in the grand scheme of things this really isn't an issue but even so I am still annoyed.
Mine are tiny dots and can't find them easily amongst freckles. The hospital did say that they would remove them for me if I wanted after on the NHS. Always worth asking if they bother you.
I'm having the tattoos. Compared to the HUGE blob of bright blue dye that should have faded but hasn't next to my nipple and the crater from the lumpectomy, a couple of mole like marks are the least of my worries.
It's quite important to leave the tattoos in place just in case (heaven forbid) that there is ever any question of more rads, since they musn't do rads on the same area again. Maybe if your tattoos have smudged they could be replaced with a neater dot? Don't know if this is possible, might be worth enquiring. My tattoos are so tiny (difficult to see even with my reading glasses on!) that I'd forgotten all about them until I saw this thread again - but I'm covered with moles, freckles, etc so they blend into the general mess. If you have smooth, clear skin they must be more noticeable.
I also have a lovely black head in the middle of my cleavage and quite a sizable 'smudge ink mark' in my upper breast that shows with scooped necked T-shirts that I wear all the time. Apparently smudging is common on soft tissue. Someone did say that if they really bother you, you can get them lazered off - but not necessarily on the NHS.
Mine are quite noticeable too def more than just a dot. I suppose I'll get used to them-not much choice really! Snow falling quite heavily hope I am going to get to my last rads appt today and then off to my son's tomorrow. Hope everyone else gets to appts too, xx
Thanks Jackie and Crazy Cat Lady. There are days when we can cope and days when we just can't. It just took a tiny dot to send me over the edge, but I guess it was the last straw. One thing I've learnt so far is that we are all a whole lot stronger than we realise.
Lilac So sorry you feel low.You are most certainly not a door mat. BC takes away so much from us, including control about what is happening to our bodies to a large extent It is one thing to rehearse the conversation in your heads and another to carry it through when lying there naked from the waist up.Sending you hugs Jackie
So sorry you feel upset and let down, I didn't know there was an alternative to tats, and as I jumped when the lower chest one was done, that one is quite large and smudged, maybe you could talk to your gp or onc to ask about them being removed when your rads are finished.
Think I'll just put up with mine, as I've seen enough of hospitals these past few months to last a lifetime!
Hope your treatment goes ok. X
I am seriously pxxxed off today. Went for rads planning and despite my best intentions of refusing tattoos - had rehearsed the conversation with the consultant so many times in my head - ended up getting them. They are small but I feel my femininity is all gone now. No hair, eyebrows or eyelashes, lopsided and scarred boobs and now what looks like a dirty great blackhead in the middle of my cleavage!
All the professionals were just that - professional and friendly but they were processing so many people that they spoke really quickly with no time for discussion. When I asked if the tattoos were absolutely necessary, onc just said yes and carried on talking about something else. Next thing I was signing the consent form and being moved on for my scan and doodles.
Sorry about the rant, but I feel like a complete doormat.
Didn't know you could have brown tattoos, that sounds the best to me since they will look more like freckles or moles. Mine are black which doesn't look so natural, although they're so tiny it doesn't really matter.
A lot of good advice here - thanks everyone. A good point about the tattoos preventing you from being zapped in the same place twice. That hadn't occurred to me. Plus, I'll make sure to avoid the blue ones.
I was adament i didnt want tatoos i hate them and i discussed it with my oncologist before starting rads and they said they could use henna instead.However when she demonstrated the size of them ( smaller than a freckle) i just had them and i had 5 in all 3 to my chest and one under each arm. you can only see 1 visable under my bra and to be honest its difficult to pick out cos i have a few sun freckles there anyway, julie xx
I have 4 dark blue tattoos, 2 of which are high on my chest and show with certain tops. They are much bigger than a freckle, especially one of them, it does look smudged. When i saw a new onc recently he even said how "hideous" they looked - thanks very much! However, if you were to ever need rads again, they cant zap the same area twice and thats why its important that they are permanent. I try to look at them as saving my life, but i do hate it in the summer.
I had mine done at the end of 2008 and they had a job finding them a week after they were done. They are weeny and unless you have perfect skin any moles or blemishes will make them difficult to spot. I think maybe the difference is the colour they use, mine were black and so mole like. Some units use bright blue which notices a little more, looking like a pen smudge. It really was nothing when i had them done, hope yours is the same. Ask for black
I did't want tattooos. I totally understand. I'm sure a lot of them are hardly visible, but I've seen some that are. For me it wasn't so much about them 'noticing'; compared to the disaster zone that my upper half has become, it'd be nothing! It was more that it was the final straw. I have had soooo much 'done' that I couldn't bear anything else.
Using a permanent pen on top of a Tegaderm 'plaster'is a perfectly well accepted alternative. They stay put very well - you can bath with no probs.
I'm 3 weeks into a 4 week rads programme.
Not sure if it's NHS protocol, but Macmillan's site says tattoos "will only be done with your permission" and the Cancer Research site says
"Tattoo marks are only done if you agree".
If I'm right, that is the only radiotherapy unit in N. Ireland isn't it? I cannot believe that every single woman in N Ireland who has had rads has also had a permanent mark. They MUST have made exceptions. You've got cancer; you're entitled to be picky! Just tell them you want the Tegaderm option.
Wishing you a side-effect-free time of things with the chemo 🙂
Quite honestly, the tattoos are so small that I have difficulty finding them. They are the size of a small pin prick. It's useful to have permanent markers so that in future there is always a guide as to where you had radiotherapy.
Highlandlady -you made me laugh -a vulture indeed. That's style -and here was me going for daisies lol Surprised you can find yours to need concealer -maybe it's specs I need ?
I am 12 months on from rads, and my tattoos are hardly noticable now, if I wear a low cut dress I just put a small amount of concealer over it. I really wanted a vulture but ended up with 3 small dots.... gutted! lol.
Hi I start my rads tomorrow and honestly hope they an see my tatoos they are really tiny I can hardly see them, so nothing to worry about,
Hi lilac im about to start my radiotherapy on wed had markings done 2 tattoos and a felt pen marker covered over with a clear plaster they said i will have 2 leave it on till rads finished all im saying is if i can have felt pen marks why cant you hope this helps
They really are'nt worth worrying about, they are so tiny that they are barely visible.
I'm in the middle of chemo and due to have radiotherapy early next year. I've read that this involves getting small tattoos and am really not liking the idea of having any more permanent reminders of this time - scars are enough!
Anyone know of hospitals offering a less permanent alternative to tattoos? It would be good to have alternatives to suggest in case my radiotherapy centre (City Hospital, Belfast) insists on tattoos.