These Women Transformed Their Breast Cancer Scars Into Gorgeous Survivor Tattoos

These Women Transformed Breast Cancer Scars Into Survivor Tattoos

These Women Transformed Their Breast Cancer Scars Into Gorgeous Survivor Tattoos

by Katie Kausch

This year breast cancer will affect an estimated 230,000 American women, many of whom will turn to surgery to prevent or treat the disease.

Mastectomies often result in heavy scarring as well as the loss of the nipple, which doctors may attempt to recreate through tattoos. Unfortunately, with little tattoo training, doctors may be unable to capture the dimension needed to make the nipple look real (a skill it takes actual tattoo artists years to hone).

That’s where comes in. (short for “Personal Ink”) helps connect breast cancer survivors with experienced tattoo artists to create decorative mastectomy tattoos that cover up scarring.

“ Day is about providing an amazing experience for breast cancer survivors, which culminates with a mastectomy tattoo to help them reclaim some of the personal property that breast cancer stole,” founder Noel Franus said in a press release. “This is our grassroots approach to creatively addressing the difference between being cured and being healed.”

One weekend in October, tattoo shops across the country host free, all-day sessions for survivors. What started as a one shop operation in Brooklyn has expanded to 13 locations across the country, with 48 survivor participants in 2015. MTV News attended this year’s Day event on Saturday (Oct. 10) at Twelve 28 Tattoo in Queens, New York, where five survivors, accompanied by sisters, husbands, nephews and other supporters, were inked.

The shop was buzzing the whole time, both with excited chatter and tattoo needles.

After seven years of looking at her scars in the mirror, Tracy was ready for a change. Her design of flowers, infinity signs, water and a discrete pink ribbon covers her entire breast — and the scarring that was lowering her confidence.

“When I’m looking at myself in the mirror every morning I don’t have to see the ugly reminder of cancer, which is the scarring and the lack of nipples,” Tracy said. “This tattoo will help me close this chapter, and I really […]