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CANSWER HIVE: Breast Cancer Tattoos

By Rethink Breast Cancer September 21 2018

This is the CANSWER HIVE – Tips and insights shared directly from Rethink’s Young Women’s Network (RYWN)

People have inked their bodies for thousands of years for various reasons: a declaration of love or devotion, for purely aesthetic purposes, or perhaps to commemorate a significant life event. This last one is true for many of the women in our Canswer Hive. Here’s how some of these women documented their breast cancer diagnosis through tattoo:

1Erika says: 

This tattoo covers my port scar.

2Dee says:

This tattoo is in Sanskrit meaning “gratefulness”. I got it between surgery and chemo to remember to be grateful when chemo was going through my veins.


3Nancy says:

This is my ‘reconstruction’ – my scar is now a spot of beauty on my body surrounded by blossoming flowers.


4Sarah says:

Everything boobs!


5Michelle says:

I chose a skull to warn cancer it’s not to come back.


6Myra says:

Last year I went with my mom to get a tattoo. It was her first, which made it even more special. I got “Warrior” and she got my name.


7Julie says:

A year after I had a portacath put in I got this tattoo. The port is in the centre.


8Lisa says:

I got this tattoo when I finished my cancer treatments. I plan to get another one after reconstruction, over the scars.


9Laura says:

My tattoo is an anchor and it signifies multiple things but mostly my tribe who have got me through the hard times. Two of my the tribe members have it tattooed as well. It signifies where the five of us met (working in the cruise industry) and how we’ve been able to keep each other anchored together through good times and the bad – cancer, kidney transplant, Crohn’s disease, depression and devastating loss.


10Karen says:

I got three tattoos. One after my diagnosis, one after I was NED (no evidence of disease), and one a year later.

11Cheryl says: 

I read this quote many times during treatment. I believe we are all warriors!!


12Stacey says:

I read this quote many times during treatment. I believe we are all warriors!!


13Sandy says:

I put this on my left wrist after chemo and surgery, but before I started radiation.


14Melanie says:

I didn’t share my diagnosis with many people. In fact I only told my husband, mom, siblings and boss. I wasn’t trying to hide it, but I also did not what to be defined by it. When people would find out they would say crap like “you made it look easy” or “you got lucky.” My tattoo is a reminder that no one really knows or understands the struggle unless they have been in my shoes.


15Sarah says:

I got this tattoo on my lower back two years after my stage 2 diagnosis. It is the logo for a small survivors group I went to in 2006. I joined the sisters in survivorship – ‘s’ and backwards ‘s’ in the butterfly and the ‘i’ is the body of the butterfly. I also have the metastatic ribbon on my forearm I got three years after my stage 4 diagnosis.

16Marlena says: