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Tattoo Artists Can Help Reduce Skin Cancer

Update Date: Jan 21, 2017 09:27 AM EST

A recent study conducted highlights the opportunity of tattoo artists to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer. They can be taught how to recognize suspicious skin lesions and encourage their clients to visit a dermatologist.

Tattoo artists might tattoo right over a mole if their client requests for it. Unknowingly, they have already hidden skin cancers, and medical practitioners may find it difficult to diagnose early stages.

The researchers from University of Pittsburgh found out that less than 30 percent of tattoo artists have recommended a client to see a dermatologist for evaluation of a suspicious skin lesion. When they are well-informed about skin cancer especially melanoma, the deadliest form of its kind, tattoo artists may help reduce the incidence.

In 2016, researchers looked into 42 tattoo artists and on how they deal with moles and other skin lesions of their clients. More than half of them said that they have declined to proceed with the tattoo because of the skin condition of the client.

Among those who declined, 50 percent was only concerned about the final appearance of the tattoo. Only 29 percent were concerned about skin cancer, while 19 percent were mindful of the bleeding in the mole.

The rise in melanoma cases come from young adults and some of them are frequent tattoo customers. Around 70 percent of the clients have not asked the tattoo artists to avoid making a tattoo over a mole or skin lesion that could be a sign of an early skin cancer. With these figures, researchers believe that tattoo artists can help in the reduction of cases.

In December, a new ink used by tattoo artists was reported to improve skin cancer treatment.  Medical practitioners used it to mark an area for future treatment for skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma.

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