Tattoo artistes may have a role to play in reducing cases of unconventional skin cancer, researchers say. That's because tattoos can every so often hide skin cancers, and make it harder for doctors to identify these cancers early, according to a new study.
The researchers found that tattoo artists characteristically don't have a standard way of dealing with the moles that they may see on their clients, and differing to what doctors would commend, many will tattoo right over a mole if a client desires it. In the meantime, less than a third of the tattoo artists (29 percent) said they had voluntary that a client see a dermatologist for a wary skin graze.
Do Tattoos Have An Effect on Health?
"Our study highlights an prospect for dermatologists to educate tattoo artists about skin cancer, particularly melanoma, to help reduce the occurrence of skin cancers hidden in tattoos," the researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh, wrote in the Jan. 18 topic of the journal JAMA Dermatology. Tattoo artists could also be taught how to identify a suspicious skin lesion, and encourage their clients to see a dermatologist if they have such a lesion, the researchers said. There have been several cases of people who had tattoos that concealed skin cancers, the researchers said.
Tattoos And Skin Health
More than half (55 percent) of these tattoo artists said they had declined to tattoo skin with a rash, lesion, or spot. When asked why they declined to tattoo skin in these cases, 50 percent said it was because they were concerned about the final appearance of the tattoo, while 29 percent said they were concerned about skin cancer. Another 19 percent said they were concerned about bleeding in their client's mole.
"There has been a noteworthy rise in melanoma occurrence among young adults, some of the most common tattoo customers, making surveillance by tattoo artists especially important," the investigators said. Future studies could follow tattoo artists over time, and examine the effect of skin cancer information in this group, they said.
Melanoma is the lethal type of skin cancer, and the first sign of the sickness is often a change to an existing mole, such as in its size, shape or color, per the National Institutes of Health.