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Radiotherapy tattoo removal

9 REPLIES 9
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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi SAA,

Do you have a follow up appointment with your oncologist? I had one about a month after I finished my radio. In her summary letter following that appointment, she mentioned we had discussed removal of the tattoos - so I was able to use that. I can understand why clinics ask for the letter - they dont know the treatment plan so have to cover themselves. 

Don't worry about your scar yet - you'll be surprised how much it gradually improves over the first year.

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi Mx and thank you for the advice. I finished the ‘Fast’ 5 sessions Radiotherapy a month ago. I too really loathe the smudge of blue ink on my chest. It’s visible easily with most tops, a constant reminder. It looks nothing like a mole or freckle and I really want it removed.

I phoned the nearest NHS hospital skin clinic which does tattoo removal. The senior nurse I spoke to wanted a written statement that the marks would not be needed again. She also said it was risky to have the mark removed now as the dye molecules are actually metabolised in the liver and there is a risk of an allergic reaction If done too soon. She said I could get in touch in 6 months. A bit frustrating but they also do scar revision so I’m thinking they can possibly improve the dark edges of my WLE scar where it is bumpy in places. 

I need to look into the picosure laser you mentioned too if that is supposed to be good for blue colour removal. To be honest I’d be keen to get it removed sooner rather than later. 
Best wishes and please update us on how you get on.  
SAA

 

 

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi    I refused to have a tattoo on my breastbone as I knew it would bother me, told the registrar I've managed 66 years without feeling the need for a tattoo anywhere on my body and don't want one now if it can be avoided. (I agreed to the side ones as they would be under clothing).  I had to remind the staff at the planning session there was to be no tattoo there and they managed with a 'felt pen' mark covered up with a  waterproof surgical dressing that had to stay in place untouched for the three weeks of radiotherapy.  But if I hadn't stood my ground I would have ended up tattooed.  I'm so pleased to have avoided one unnecessary reminder of my treatment.  

Alice

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

This was a interesting read for me - I finished my radiotherapy June 2019 and only until this last month has my tattoo started to bother me (mentally).   I have No other tattoos (don’t like them especially on women) but I was recently thinking could I live with keeping the spot if it was a colour or having the smallest 💕 ever.   Please keep us updated when removal is complete, does it still leave Some kind of a mark?

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

I’ve been looking in to having my dots removed. I have found someone local to me who does mobile laser tattoo removal and have been told it will be £20 per session and I should only need three to four sessions. I understand that some tattoo shops offer laser tattoo removal or can point you in the direction of someone who does. I hope you manage to sort something out, my dots certainly trouble me. 

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

I'm a bit frustrated to see this has been a problem for so many years, and even those of us going through treatment in 2020 still end up with a permanent blue pen mark right in the middle of our chest. 

Don't let anyone tell you it is vain or unnecessary to want these removed. It is bigger than they said it would be. It doesn't look like a freckle. It affects self confidence, it affects the clothes you wear, and it acts as an unnecessary reminder. And if someone notices the mark and asks about it, your wish to keep a private surgery private is blown out of the water. 

I didn't get any guidance from the centre where I had the radio done or my breast care nurse on this. "Most people just leave it" or "yeah just ask around" were the responses I got. 

The good news is that it is easy to fix, and there are places out there that understand the situation and will offer the treatment for free. I'm no laser expert, but I had read that the newer picosure lasers are more effective at breaking down the blue ink over less visits, so I googled local clinics that offered tattoo removal with this laser, and emailed them to ask if they would provide the treatment for free (or a nominal fee to cover costs) for radio tattoos. I had one respond that they would be happy to, and they've been great so far. I've been once - its a very brief visit/quick shot - and will be re-done every 6 weeks until it breaks up. 

The other thing you need to decide for yourself is when to get it done. It's a personal decision, as it is all a lot going on at the time, so some prefer to do it later. But something to consider is that when you get the laser removal done, they tell you to keep that spot out of the sun for 6-12 months as the lasering makes it far more sensitive to light. That is also what you are told by the oncologist for your radio'd skin. So, to me, it made sense to start this process as soon as I got the all-clear from the oncologist to get the tattoo removal done (which for me was about a month after the radio finished), as that whole area of skin was going to be out of the sun for the next year anyway. 

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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi Bunny
Did you get anywhere with this? Had mine today. Chest one looks like a prison tattoo, so I really don’t want to keep it forever. The others do too (& are worse), but they’re under clothes & not obvious to me every day.
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Member

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi, I have a friend who is a beautician and she has said she can use the same procedure for tattooing eyebrows on my dots. I do have freckles on my chest so they will just look like them. My dots are only small but the one right on the breastbone is the one I see every day. Just a thought to share.

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Community Champion

Re: Radiotherapy tattoo removal

Hi Bunny ,I'm sure I've read somewhere on the forum about people having these tattoos removed on the NHS if they cause distress .Could you contact your breast unit and ask about it ? Hopefully someone who knows more than me will be along to comment .
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Member

Radiotherapy tattoo removal

I’m sure there’s been a lot of threads about this but I really hate the dots and feel so fed up explaining why I have a “pen” mark on my chest. After six years I’ve decided to get rid of them. Any advice or recommendations as the clinic I went to today was really awful. Having been told I would see a specialist who would know about these tattoos it turned out to be someone who wanted to sell me treatment and was googling about tamoxifen while I was speaking to her. A totally wasted journey up to London. So I’m back to square one again.