Survivors Beginning to Choose Tattoos Over Breast Reconstruction

One of the most difficult decisions a woman can make is whether or not to have a mastectomy. While the procedure may be a necessity to save women's lives from cancer, the choice to undergo it can be an emotional one. Breasts have long been tied to a women's sense of femininity. Most can remember the time they bought their first bra as girls and being told that the development of their breasts is one of the signs that they were becoming women. After their surgeries, many women will choose to have breast reconstruction in order to restore the sense of femininity they feel they have lost.

However, some survivors of breast cancer are opting to go down a different path after having a mastectomy. Women are beginning to choose tattoos over breast reconstruction. Rather than undergo long procedures that don't always succeed, women are using body art that covers their scar tissue as a way of empowering themselves after a hard fought battle with cancer.

"Getting my tattoo was the culmination of a three year dance with breast cancer," survivor Pam Huntley told The Guardian. "The tattoo changed my mastectomy scar into a shield."

Other women report that before their tattoos, they often felt pity from anyone who noticed them in changing rooms or at public pools. The artwork, however, allows them to feel strong and confident again. The tattoos often use beautiful images or symbols that express the survivor's personal journey with cancer.

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