Many of us know women who battled breast cancer, and while we get bogged down on the recovery process and the relief once the battle's been won, we tend to jump the gun. When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, we are all focused on just getting through it. We rarely stop to think about the recovery, even after the cancer is gone. But now that tattoo artists are now helping breast cancer survivors cover their post-mastectomy scars with tattoos, the recovery process is finally getting some of the care and attention it deserves.
Mastectomies are a surgical removal of the breast, either partially or fully, that many women with breast cancer have to go through in order to be healthy again. The procedure is not only painful, but the scars left behind can be damaging psychologically. The purpose of these tattoos is to channel positivity around a part of the body that would otherwise conjure difficult emotions. These tattoos cannot erase the women's pain, but they can help bring light to the situation. Getting a tattoo can be a cathartic sort of pain, and with this process, it inspires the women rebuild and love their bodies.
Tattoo artist David Allen told us that, "These mastectomy tattoos are changing the face of healing through this process."
Here are the stunning works of body art:
Each woman took on a different idea to help appreciate and accentuate their new form. The website responsible for all of this, P.ink.org, specializes in pairing breast cancer survivors with artists who have mastectomy or scar experience. According to their website, "Most breast cancer survivors face two choices: Reconstruction or not. Most women don't realize there's a third option: Ink."
Their philosophy is that breast cancer doesn't have to "leave the last mark," and their goal is to set their clients up with a tattoo artist who "can provide a form of healing that no one else can." They are not only changing the face of mastectomies through art, they are encouraging more and more women to learn about it by hosting a 12-hour Ink-A-Thon. This will be a great way to get women in front of tattoo artists, because many artists are now overrun with requests. (To reach out to most of the artists, you have to introduce your background, why you want your tattoo, the concept behind the art, etc.)
Here are a few testimonies from breast cancer survivors after they've gotten their new tattoos. Additional testimonies can be found on P.ink.org:
- "Every single time I see myself in the mirror, I'm deeply moved. I feel something healed inside of me."
- "I was beautiful before my surgery. But now I am BEA-U-TI-FUL, with my scars and all."
- "I feel like I was back to what I was before I was diagnosed, and then some."
Images: Courtesy of David Allen