Imagine waking up, looking in the mirror and not recognizing your own body — the same body you’d learned to love over the course of your life. For many women diagnosed with breast cancer or labeled high risk for developing breast cancer in their lifetime, this is their reality. In order to stay in the fight, they’ve been faced with forever altering how they look by getting a mastectomy.
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For a long time, it was only women diagnosed with breast cancer who were told they needed to have either a single or double mastectomy, but this is changing. Due to advances in genetic testing and early detection, the number of women choosing to have this surgery is increasing. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, between 2005 and 2013, the number of surgeries increased by 36%.
Women continue to take control of this disease and how it affects their life, including how they honor this invasive and arduous surgery. While some choose to undergo reconstruction, having their breasts recreated via implant or flap, others opt not to reconstruct. Regardless of which route they take, many women are getting post-mastectomy tattoos. There are a number of tattoo artists who specialize in mastectomy tattoos that can recreate a woman’s nipple or use their breasts as a canvas for incredible pieces of art that honor the mastectomy journey and the resilience of women across the world.
Here are a few mastectomy scar tattoos that are so beautiful, they may inspire other survivors to get inked.
Not only do these mastectomy tattoos have gorgeous designs but helping create them is often one way for women to take back their body autonomy and feel beautiful post-surgery.