Breast Cancer Survivor Covers Scars with Tattoos

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Joanne Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2011. When surgeries to remove the cancer and rebuild her breast left her scarred, the mother of two decided to cover the marks up with tattoos.

According to the Daily Mail, Jackson, a native of Thornhill, Dewsbury​, England, had a mastectomy to remove her cancerous breast in 2011. Surgeons used fat from her stomach to reconstruct her breast, leaving a scar that ran from one hip to the other.

Jackson, who received her first tattoo at age 21, considers herself a collector of fine art, according to the source. She doesn’t cover her walls with her favorite pieces, but instead she opts to have them permanently inked onto her skin. 

Her collection currently includes a full sleeve on her left arm that depicts images of strong women, like Geisha girls and Samurai warriors. Matt Evans of Slawit Ink in Slaithwaite, England, created the sleeve in 20 hours over the course of five sessions. Jackson has a large piece on her left side that depicts a peacock with bright blue, orange and pink feathers. The peacock’s tail starts above her hip and goes across her front, covering the scars where doctors removed fat to rebuild her breast. The peacock is not complete but has taken 14 hours to create so far. 

According to the Daily Mail, Jackson also has other tattoos, including a cancer ribbon on her back and famous quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt about being brave and gaining strength from fighting for things that you aren’t sure you can accomplish. Jackson told the source that the peacock piece marks the end of her cancer journey. 

While she admits she is running out of room, Jackson plans to add a few more tattoos to her collection. For her, the pieces tell the story of her cancer journey and other women who have been strong in the face of adversity.

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