Doctors Discover Woman's "Cancer" Is Actually Tattoo Ink


The doctors noticed the odd case, the case report was released on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

A 30-year-old woman, whose identity has been hidden, consulted with doctors due to small lumps that formed under her arms. So she went to the doctor and they gave her a body scan, which also showed that the lymph nodes near her lungs were also enlarged.

Doctor Christian Bryant, a hematologist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, told CNN: "Ninety-nine times out of 100, this will be lymphoma". Bryant is one of the woman's doctors. Lymph nodes may also enlarge due to infection and inflammation.

Recently, findings by the group at the Annals of Internal Medicine suggested that the ink can travel to the lymph nodes and potentially cause cancer, even in the oldest of tattoos.

The swollen lymph node doctors removed from the woman.

The director of cosmetic dermatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Bill Stebbins who had no role in the report said, "The skin has its own immune cells that are always surveilling the skin". "That's why they're still there many years later". The woman had a large black ink tattoo that was 15-year-old covering her back, the another black-ink tattoo was 2.5-year-old on her left shoulder. She says that tattoo ink contains nanoparticles which are drained the same way that an infection in your skin might be drained.

Bryant and his colleagues had never seen anything quite like it.

But in this case, it was the first time they'd come across a case where the nodes were deep enough to possibly be lymphoma.

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'I think there's absolutely no way to know how common it is, ' he added.

The Australian woman's health scare over her tattoo was quickly resolved, but other people do not come out as lucky.

Instead, she was just experiencing an adverse reaction to a tattoo inked upon her back almost two decades earlier.

Dr. Laura Ferris wasn't surprised by the new report.

Medics already know that tattoos could cause cancer.

When it comes to being afraid to take the plunge and get a tattoo, it usually stems something like you'll realize you don't actually like butterflies or your old boyfriend that much anymore. Among Generation X, slightly fewer have tattoos: about 32%. Both were done using black ink.

While it's a good idea to do your research to find a reputable tattoo artist, "you can have the most clean professionally done tattoo and still be allergic to the dye", Ferris said. "It's important for physicians to be aware of a tattoo history", he said.