In 2012, a Californian woman with cervical cancer underwent a body image scan and doctors noticed bright areas in her lymph nodes, suggesting her cancer had spread. But it was only after surgery to treat the cancer that they realised the real reason for those bright spots: her tattoos.
The 32-year-old woman with four children had been diagnosed with cervical cancer and her doctors requested the imaging scan to check to see if the cancer had spread (metastasized) to other parts of her body.
The type of scan the doctors wanted was a PET/CT fusion scan, which combines technology from both PET and CT scans, and requires that patients receive an injection of a radioactive tracer that makes tumours appear as bright spots on the scan.
The scan showed not only the woman’s cervical tumour, but also bright spots on the lymph nodes in her pelvis, which looked suspiciously like cancer metastases, the researchers wrote in their report of her case, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
To treat her cervical cancer, the woman had surgery to remove her uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and pelvic lymph nodes.
But when doctors later examined cells from the woman’s lymph nodes under a microscope, they saw that the cells contained deposits of tattoo ink — not cancer. The woman had more than 14 tattoos on her legs.
Lymph nodes try to filter out tattoo toxins
Lymph nodes are grape-like clusters of lymphatic tissue and they are the filtration part of the lymphatic system. Their job is to filter out and trap bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and other unwanted substances, and to make sure they are safely eliminated from the body via your body’s excretory systems such as urine and perspiration for instance.
This woman’s lymph nodes were lighting up brightly on the PET scan because of the tattoo pigment that was in the lymph nodes.
There have previously been reports of tattoo ink spreading to people’s lymph nodes and showing up on PET scans in patients with other cancers, including breast cancer and melanoma. Unfortunately, in this case, false-positive findings from the scan resulted in an unnecessary surgical intervention.
Tattoo ink is not entirely safe.
The safety of tattoo inks or pigments has been the subject of some attention, due to a lawsuit brought by the American Environmental Safety Institute (AESI) against tattoo ink sellers in the U.S because heavy metals are used to give tattoo pigments their permanent colour. It is known that heavy metals have been linked to cancer and birth defects.
As a result of this lawsuit, the companies must place a warning for their California customers on their tattoo ink labels, catalogues and Internet sites that reads “inks contain many heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and others” and that the ingredients have been linked to cancer and birth defects.
The specific ingredients that are used in the pigments differ by colour and by brand, but may include not only lead and arsenic, but also antimony, beryllium, chromium, cobalt, and nickel — metals that have also been linked to bad health outcomes in people.
The amount of these metals in a tattoo may be substantial.
For example, AESI states that the ink used for a passport sized tattoo (roughly 7.5cm x 12.5cm) contains 1.23 micrograms of lead, which is more than double the amount permitted per day under many health regulation laws in the US.
Tattoo removal is more scientific than you think.
Not only is effective tattoo removal is dependent on the type of laser machine used but also the healthy functioning of the lymphatic system.
Renude Laser Tattoo Removal is the first removal clinic in the world to incorporate additional healing laser therapy pre and post treatment to improve the lymph flow to clear cells with shattered ink particles from your body more quickly.
This type of additional healing treatment is very important to helping the filtration processes of your lymph. During the laser tattoo removal process more ink will pass through the lymph nodes and the goal is to keep these very important body “drains” as “unclogged” as possible for faster clearance and better health.
Since tattoo ink contains a few unfriendly heavy metals, our concern for the health of our patients is the primary reason we have introduced this care into our standard treatment protocol. Not only to reduce pain and promote tissue healing more rapidly, but, to clean your lymph as fast as possible. No other laser tattoo removal clinic in Australia offers this.
Using proven technology backed by science, renude laser clinic will help you to eliminate these substances from your body: faster, safer, healthier and with less pain.