Artwork used with permission from P.Ink
The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 232,670 new cases of breast cancer among women and 2,360 new cases of breast cancer among men in 2014, with an estimated 40,000 deaths among women and 430 deaths among men. This number has increased steadily since 2012, which is when I personally started keeping track of these numbers.
Breast cancer treatment can include mastectomy, which is the total removal of one or both breasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, newer mastectomy techniques can preserve breast skin.
Some women who undergo mastectomy choose to have breast reconstruction surgery, which can restore shape to a breast with the option to have a nipple implant performed during the reconstruction surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery can be done immediately after a mastectomy or in a separate surgery at a later date. According to the Mayo Clinic, newer mastectomy techniques can preserve breast skin. Cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy are left with scars from these surgeries.
P.Ink is a non-profit organization that helps partner mastectomy patients with tattoo artists so that scars can be transformed into beautiful designs. Areola pigmentation professionals help survivors by restoring the circular pigmentation around reconstructed nipples using a tattoo technique so reconstructed breasts will have a more natural look.
P.Ink Day’s inaugural event was held in 2013 at Saved Tattoo in New York City. At this event, ten tattoo artists helped ten breast cancer survivors transform their bodies using tattoo designs. This year, the all-volunteer effort that is P.Ink Day has grown to a total of 12 cities in the United States and Canada with dozens of tattoo artists and will be held on Oct. 10.
There are ways for everyone to help this non-profit connect more mastectomy survivors with tattoo artists across the country.
P.Ink’s online list for ways to help the organization includes hugging a survivor and then hugging a tattoo artist; donate to the P.Ink Fund, in which all money donated will pay for tattoo artists’ fees for mastectomy tattoos all throughout the calendar year; help P.Ink locate more tattoo artists who have mastectomy tattoo experience; and spread the word.
P.Ink Day 2013 Video This YouTube video features viewpoints from both the artists and the survivors on that day’s mastectomy tattoo project.
For more information on P.Ink Day 2014, please visit P.Ink’s information site.
I hope to be able to sit down with breast cancer survivors soon and with a tattoo artist who creates mastectomy tattoos for future blog posts. Survivors and tattoo artists please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sharing your experiences with Your Sexy Librarian.