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Radiation tattoos!

Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

Did anyone get or have their radiation tattoos removed after your treatments were done? I am thinking about it. I really hate them. I only have 4 and they are hard to see except for one that is in the middle of my chest. It is just a reminder of this crap and I think I might get it lasered off. And, why do they use black? Brown would have looked more like a freckle. This may seem minor to some of you, but, I just want to finish radiation and move on with my life. And, I may or may not take tamoxifen. I do not want the side effects. I want to feel good again! Thanks!

babebussie's picture
Posts: 150
Joined: May 2008

First let me start by saying this. "If your dr gives you tamoxifen PLEASE take it. My dumb *** was the same way, afraid of the side effects and hearing all the side effect horror stories and all. Well i farted around and delayed the damn pill for hmmmm i'd say 3 months and instead of the cancer being under control it frigging came back in my bones. Had i of started off by protecting myself when the dr gave me that damn rx then i wouldnt be in this pain that i'm in now. Now i'm fighting like hell to get some relief from all this agony on top of that i gotta do chemo again, possible surgery to insert pins in my hip. So PLEASE i beg you, the HELL WITH THE SIDE EFFECTS, you may not have any. Everyones body is differant. Take the darn pill and save yourself, PLEASE!!!!!!

Now as far as these tattoos you mention, when i had my rads all they did was draw on me with a majic marker just so that they knew where to target. After they were done they washed right off. My radiation office didnt make anything perm on me. "How odd that they do it like that at your office. "Good luck with getting them off".


Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

I hope and pray that you are feeling better and have some relief from your pain by now. From your post and the others, after I finish my radiation treatments, I will try and take the tamoxifen. It is just that so many have scared me of the awful side effects and I don't want to have to suffer thru them for 5 years. But hopefully, I will be one of the lucky ones and not have any or very tolerable side effects. Inre to the tattoos from the radiation treatments, I still think I will look into having the one removed. It bothers me, not that anyone else can see it, but, I can. But, first I need to get thru the rest of radiation. I do hope that you get better BabeBussie. Please post as to how you are doing when you can. Take care of yourself! Jeanne :)

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

I would like my tattoos gone too. Hopefully, I can find someone that can do it when I am done with radiation. I don't want one more reminder of this crap!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

Hello, Kristin N. Please see my post "Tiny Tattoos" here regarding laser & lymphedema caution.

Kind regards, Susan

Cindy54's picture
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

I look at my tattoos and other scars as hard won badges of being a survivor. The radiation tattoos are very small and probably only seem to be big or visible to you because you know they are there. I can look and see them with no problem on myself. But when the doctor was examining me, he could not see them.

You may want to get on with your life and wipe out any reminder of the cancer you had. You may not want to take any meds the doctor has prescribed for you. You may think you will never get cancer again. And I hope you never do. But if someone offered you the chance to live a few years longer with no suffering, no cancer, would you not do all that you could to prevent it? There are no guarantees to anything..you may be cancer free forever, it may come back years from now. You may take that pill and get side effects, you may not. There are a lot of pills to try if you do get side effects. We are all different in our reactions.

I know you may not want any reminders of all that you have gone through. And I know you just want to get on with life and feel good again. We all want that. To me, a few side effects are small when compared to not being able to enjoy anything at all or not being here on this earth. There is much I want to do yet and if taking that little pill evry day for the next 5 years is going to help me be here longer, so be it.

Whatever you decide, I wish you well. Only you know what is the right decision for you to make. Hugs, Cindy

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

Well said, Cindy. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

Kind regards, Susan

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

Hello, Jeanne D. I got the tattoos - 4 tiny dots - for radiation, also. Finished rads 5 years ago last month. Honestly, I can hardly find them anymore. They simply blend in with other freckles & "beauty marks" on my chest. I think they use black so that THEY can see them for treatment. Your frustration with the tattoos is certainly understandable, and to be allowed. I don't mean to diminish your feelings in any way. I've been there. Maybe think this way: how much of an impact do those tiny little tattoos make compared to your surgery scars? Not much, really. You will always have the scars from surgery. Those cannot be ignored. Your tattoos can be.

Those tattoos are not done in the same way as body art tattoos. They are just barely below the skin's surface. Not meant to be permanent, although they might be. I've learned that for some, they eventually wear away over time as the skin resurfaces itself.

Regarding laser removal - I caution you to ask about that before proceeding. If you had mastectomy or lumpectomy w/sentinel nodes removal surgery, you are at risk for lymphedema on that side of your body for the rest of your life. So, when the appropriate time comes, again - please ask first. Who knows? Maybe by that time, the tattoos won't be bothering you so much.

Also, I strongly encourage you to not get so far ahead of yourself. Focus on getting through the radiation. It is serious treatment. One step at a time. Don't think about your decision regarding Tamoxifen at the moment. But when the appropriate time is at hand, please - PLEASE - do NOT base your decision on the stories of others & their experiences with side effects. ALL medications - even OTC (over-the-counter) - have POTENTIAL side effects. They don't happen to everyone. I took Tamoxifen for 2 years; and, honestly, it could have been a placebo/"sugar pill" for all I knew. NO side effects/symptoms, whatsover. I even asked my oncologist at one point if it was "working"! After the Tamoxifen, I got switched to Arimidex - which I'm still taking, 3+ years now. (By the way, of course it worked/is working... because I'm still here...)

Whatever your "invasive" treatment plan has been, in whatever order - the body does not get the chance to really heal itself until all of that finally stops. When your rads have been completed, you WILL begin to feel better. I promise! Cross my heart!

Kind regards, Susan

CR1954's picture
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

As far as the tattoos go, I look at my mastectomy scar and my port scar, and then at the tattoos. Suddenly, the tattoos become a non-issue for me. Believe me, if I went around shirtless, the tattoos are not what people would notice!
But if yours really bother you, you should talk to your doctor about it.

Regarding tamoxifen, I have said before in posts, that I would embrace every option available to me, in order to give myself the best shot at a cancer free life. So I would take it.
But again, talking to your doctor is probably the best thing that you can do before making your decision. He/she can discuss side effects with you, and also discuss probable outcome if you do not take it.

Best regards,

EveningStar2's picture
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

Rather than get my tatoos removed, I'm playing with the idea of getting a "real" tattoo over/around the radiation tatoos. My daughter is into tattoos--she has 5 or more--and I'm sending her a pix of the tatoos and asking her to design something. AI figure it'll be awhile before we work all that out and my burn will be well healed by then.

mimivac's picture
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

You know, I have been toying with this idea as well. Tatoos have never really appealed to me, and the thought of more pain after surgery, chemo, rads, etc. is somewhat offputting, but I am still thinking about it. Will you let us know what your daughter designs and if you end up doing it?


tasha_111's picture
Posts: 2081
Joined: Oct 2008

Wow. Am I totally weird or what? I didn't even notice or remember them tattoos until I read this post! I'll nip into the bathroom and have a look later.
I remember telling my sister about this and she was absolutely awful to me (LOL) she said now I was a skinhead with tattoos, what next?.. Body piercings? Bovver Boots? A Motor Scooter? Burning down Old Folks Homes and maniacally torturing kittens? (Sigh!)

Seriously.......Take the Tamoxifen........I have virually no problems with it apart from remembering to take it...(Thanks, you reminded me to do so today)..

Huge Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxx

Posts: 92
Joined: Dec 2008

Nope, you're not weird. Or if you are, I am, too. I can hardly see mine and they don't bother me in the least. The only two people who will have the opportunity to see them are my husband and me, and believe me, we neither one care. He just wishes they had tattooed a John Deere tractor on me!

Good to hear you're doing well on the Tamoxifen. I started Arimidex this week--so far, so good.

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