“I share my tattoo and feelings with you, so more women can realize there is an answer to mastectomies other than hiding or plastic.” -Marcia Rasner.
I’ve tried to imagine how I would react if breast cancer forced me to get a mastectomy. But that’s the kind of thing you can’t really fathom until you’re on the receiving end of a bad diagnosis.
Luckily for me it hasn’t happened. But it’s something millions of women have confronted. According to Cancer.org, about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year. Around 40,000 women will die from breast cancer. More importantly, hundreds of thousands will survive!
Right now there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. 2.9 million!
A lot of those women beat cancer by undergoing mastectomies. That’s surgery to remove the the entire breast including all the tissue and sometimes, in severe cases, some of the chest muscle may be removed. Sometimes both breasts are removed (a double mastectomy), often as preventive surgery in women at very high risk for breast cancer. Many women who plan to reconstruct their breasts undergo a breast-conserving surgery. This is when doctors try to save as much of the breast as possible. Often these women have to undergo radiation after the mastectomy.
According to Cancer.org, “Most mastectomy incisions are in the shape of an oval around the nipple, running across the width of the breast. If you are having a skin-sparing mastectomy, the incision will be smaller, including only the nipple, areola, and the original biopsy scar.
I explain the above to you to prepare you for the differences in the photos you’re about to see. Some women had a mastectomy, others underwent a double mastectomy. Some chose to reconstruct their breasts and others didn’t. The one thing all the women you’re about to see have in common? They chose to celebrate their triumph over cancer by getting tattoos. They are all warriors. Survivors.
“Getting my tattoo was the culmination of a three year dance with Breast Cancer. The tattoo changed my mastectomy scar into my shield.” – Pam Huntley.
(Note: while beautiful, these photos do contain some nudity and may not be appropriate around kids or at work.)
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.
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