The short answer is: Yes. Although there is not complete consensus on this issue the majority of medical studies have been unable to conclusively conclude that tattoos give cancer.
While no one is suggesting tattoos are carcinogenic, medical practitioners and cancer researchers do agree that:
The incidence of cancer resulting from tattooing is estimated to be relatively small and not associated with any type of physical activity.
There is more evidence that tattoos are at higher risk for other skin cancer than from regular sun exposure.
Some studies have shown a correlation between tattoo removal and the development of melanoma.
Tattoos are an important part of identity and culture. They promote social and spiritual values, which may cause a person to change behavior or choose not to use skin cancer screening methods.
Can tattoos be a barrier to getting treatment for skin cancer?
No. There is not any evidence tattoo removal has a negative impact on quality of life for those who suffer from skin cancer.
While some skin cancer survivors have a reduced quality of life and fewer resources available, there are reports of significant increases in wellness over time – especially in those with higher levels of stress.
Some study authors recommend that tattoo removal may have a negative impact on the healing process, but the research remains inconsistent.
Tattoos can be a way of expressing individuality or of rejecting conformity, with implications for individuals’ social lives and mental health.
Tattoos also can give people a sense of belonging, self-esteem, and self-worth. If tattoos are removed they may need help and support with adjustment to everyday life, and their psychological well-being may be adversely affected.
Can tattoos cause cancer of other parts of the body?
Some studies have suggested that tattoos may cause breast or prostate cancer, but this depends almost exclusively on the type of tattoo being examined.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not classified tattoos as a carcinogen and other organizations have not linked these studies with specific cancerous cells.
How many tattoos is that?
There is no reliable, definitive data on how many tattoos someone will develop. While a person can get a tattoo in the early stages of skin cancer and develop lesions, those lesions may appear later or be hidden until later on. In addition, the type of tattoo being done makes it difficult to assess how many different types of cancers occur.
Tattoos can be categorized as:
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