According to figures from the World Health Organization, 1.38 millions new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year.
However, the mortality rate of this disease is falling. Early diagnosis, coupled with increasingly innovative treatments, has gradually increased life expectancy for those diagnosed with the illness.
Simple or radical mastectomy forces women to change their bodies and creates a wound that’s difficult to heal. As you are aware, breast cancer leaves long term physical, emotional and psychological damage.
Because losing your breasts, or undergoing a mastectomy in which the nipple and areola are removed, is a difficulty many patients are faced with.
Now, movements like “Tattoo Artists for Breast Cancer” offers these brave women a chance to recover their femininity.
We’ll explain how.
Recovering your self-esteem as a woman thanks to a very special tattoo
A lot of people are not really into tattoos and having a design on their skin that will be with them for life.
However, whether we like it or not, these stories reveal how a simple tattoo can help in special cases like breast cancer.
Stephanie M. is a recent breast cancer survivor. After undergoing a mastectomy, she elected to have reconstructive surgery.
However, breast reconstruction is a complex issue to which the nipples don’t often respond well.
A common technique that’s practiced today is known as “coloration.” It’s a technique similar to getting a tattoo, but is unfortunately used in very few hospitals and medical clinics. Another factor to consider: it’s not permanent.
A few years ago, Jero Velasco, a tattoo artist from Collado Villalba (Madrid, Spain) launched a new project on social media networks, offering his facilities and services to tattoo “nipples” on the breasts of women in need, free of charge.
Thanks to this initiative, Stephanie M. has breasts again. She explained that this summer, while at the beach, her daughter said, “Mom, your bikini fell off, cover yourself up because people can see your boobs!”
It may not seem like much, but these words made her immensely happy. “I have boobs again,” she smiled.
A truly special tattoo
Cancer patients who’ve had a mastectomy know that this isn’t just any tattoo. The nipple and areola are both important parts of a woman’s femininity.
It doesn’t matter if no one ever sees them besides a woman and her partner.
It’s a precious and delicate area of the female body. Losing it as a result of undergoing the removal of one or both breasts is, like it or not, something really traumatic and sensitive.
- Jero Soriano, the tattoo artist, knows this well. He uses a mixture of colors, like oranges and browns, to simulate the texture of the areola and nipple to give these woman the self esteem back that they so badly deserve.
- We need to point out that breast reconstruction leaves a woman with two masses of flesh that look nothing like natural breasts.
The shape might be there to look good under clothes, but still something is missing.
In private, the absence of a nipple can be a focus of low self-esteem for many women (not all, as everyone will deal with this situation individually).
Surgeons and tattoo artists
It’s a joint effort. For these women to fully recover, a surgeon and a tattoo artist are required to simulate the perfect breast.
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While this artist goes about his delicate work, it’s almost impossible not to ask and be impacted by the personal story of each of these women. Survivors offer hope.
As he explains, these types of tattoos are usually performed in a private clinic. They often cost between 300 and 400 euros per breast, which is extortion.
Prices should be nowhere near these figures when a woman’s personal situation is taken into consideration. Many of them have already had to assume the cost of other items, like wigs, in order to still feel like a woman.
These details are intended to restore more than a woman’s dignity. Losing your hair and breasts is like erasing your womanhood.
They will always be beautiful in our eyes.
However, the private reality of each individual person is unique and exceptional. Some suffer more than others from the devastating aftermath of cancer.
But, it’s caring ideas like this tattoo artist’s that fill us with happiness.