I am planning on having a tattoo done on my affected side when all of this is over..................my surgeon actually suggested it, and when i told him I'd been thinking about it anyway, he said 'good for you, think outside the box!'...................I do have a lovely celtic dragon knot on my back, so feel like i want something similar for the breast area, but have yet to find something i can live with for the rest of my days!.................but I will................:-)
I have been lucky in that my chest tattoos are exceptionally small and like others I thought at least one of them had disappeared.
I have also had two malignant melanomas removed in the past and didn't like my many moles ganging up on me so I had nice tattoos done after each one so that I had a piece of skin that I liked. I've now promised myself another tattoo once I've finished my radiotherapy and feel more like the old me.
I had my planning appointment 3 days ago and the tattoos I was not looking forward to were no problem at all. Done very quickly and I can hardly see them . I don't know how the radiotherapists will see them when I start rads.
I did ask if she could hive me skull and crossbones but she said she was not artistic enough!!
they say you need to have them in case you need further radiation treatment in the future as they can't irradiate the same area again. However, I didn't have the tattoos as I didn't like the idea, however small they were going to be, and I am glad I didn't. As I told them, I have decided not to have radiation again ever. I didn't like the idea or actuality of it.
Thanks for the positive words there Redders... I think you're probably right... the thinking about it is proably the worst part!
I just hope I end up with the pin pricks rather than the blobs!!!
What Dawn has said to you is exactly what I experienced - tiny tiny marks (in fact I couldn't even find the second one until the radiographer pointed it out). They don't hurt and I never even think about them - they are not big black blobs - they may put some marker pen on you but that washes off. I'm sure thinking about it is far worse than it actually is, rads for me was not a problem and I'm sure you will find the same once you get going. Best wishes.
I too am not happy about having to have tattoos at my forthcoming planning meeting. Some people I've seen have been lucky enough to have tiny pin pricks whilst others seem to have been left with ugly black ink blobs - luck of the draw I guess!
Has anybody looked into or had semi-permanent tattoos? I have been looking on the net at clincs who offer semi-permanent tattoos for women who have lost their eyebrows and thought I might contact them to see if they could help?
Does anyone if there is a reason why they have to still be in place beyond the radiotherapy treatment?
Don't worry about a thing - if you read my comments on radiotherapy planning it may help. The tattoos are minute the size of a small freckle and nothing to worry about - I can't understand why people get in such a tizz over something so tiny that is there to pinpoint treatment to save our lives. They are tiny, they do not hurt, you don't even notice them. The rest of my radiotherapy has gone really well - and I am 5 weeks in now. I have had no breast problems and been using the cream provided by the hospital - it is only at the end of this week and only today that my breast underneath has become a bit sore and the skin is slightly broken - but on mentioning this to the breast care nurse today after radiotherapy, was given a gel to put on. I expected this though and deal with it in a positive way i.e. talk to the nurse, get the treatment, apply it. I have one more week to go and can't wait for it all to finish and the travelling has been the pain in the neck for me - travelling to Harley St everyday, but am almost there and it is worth it if it works. So stay positive, don't fret about these tiny tattoos etc. Good luck - Dawn xx
Just posting to say that I had my rads planning today.
Like some of the people on this thread, I was dreading the idea of tattoos. Been here a few times in the past few weeks, and rereading all these posts gave me the courage to say NO (thank you)! And guess what? They managed to make do without them! The rads team were all very nice by the way, but they did try to persuade me.
I am SO glad I held firm.
I now have green crosses in waterproof ink covered by a clear film which I have sworn to keep dry for the duration. And I will do it! (I promised to be a good girl & do whatever else they told me!)
It is still so hard to put into words just why I feel so strongly about some small marks on my body! All I know is that the central one would have been pretty obvious (to me anyway) and even if it is silly, vain, & bratty, I DON’T CARE!
Oh, and my tech told me that in 25 years of doing her job, I was only the second refusal! Well, I’d like to meet that other lady and buy her a very large drink!!
Cheers! Hope you are all doing well,
I've just finished my second week of rads - three more to go! The tattoos are absolutely tiny quite literally the size of a tiny pin head - I couldn't even find my second one to begin with. Maybe the word "tattoos" gives the wrong impression to people, though I'm not sure what else you can call them.
Still using the emu oil and having no problems so far, although I realise there is a way to go yet!
I posted on here last year, asking the same questions and was reassured that the tattoos would not be noticeable. I went ahead and had them and regret not standing up for myself more, as one under my armpit where it is never on show is barely detectable, but the one in my cleavage is very noticeable and blue! Other people think I'm fussing, but I notice it every day and it is visible with lots of my clothes.
I don't know why I had these, but then had blue artwork scrawled all over my chest and neck, which was covered over with tape and remained there for the whole 33 treatments! if that remained (they did keep touching it up) for over 6 weeks, surely the dots could have been applied in the same way!
I appreciate exactly how you feel my advice would be to discuss it with somebody, looking back I wouldn't have the tattoos, but a year ago I considered all the advice and went with them. It's reassuring that they can be removed with laser is that on the NHS or do we have to seek out private treatment?
Hope you make a decision you are happy with
Hi everyone - thanks for your replies. Very useful - just feel I need to know what the possibilities are so I don't automatically get bamboozled by the rads team!
Hate the idea of tattoos - but reassuring to hear of laser removal. I don't really know why I find the idea upsetting - after everything that's happened I know its not really significant. Perhaps because it's the last treatment (apart from tamoxifen or whatever), you have to be strong for so long, and then this is the final straw . . . .
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.
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!
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.
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
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 Â£60 per session per tattoo ... I decided to keep the tats!
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
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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
Thanks RMW26 you beat me to it!
Mole didn't have tattoos.
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.
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.
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
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.