Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, and the incidence is increasing. In the United States, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, with over 230,000 women diagnosed each year. Men are less likely to develop breast cancer, but over 2,000 men per year receive a diagnosis.
Many people who have breast cancer or are affected by it get tattoos to raise awareness or empower themselves to fight it. We asked our readers to share their tattoos and the stories behind them. Scroll down and check them out!
If you'd like to share the story behind your breast cancer tattoo, email us with the subject line "My breast cancer tattoo" and be sure to include: a photo of your tattoo, a short description of why you got it or why you love it, and your name.
“HOPE is essential when you’re struggling with any type of disease. This ribbon represents metastatic breast cancer — green identifies triumph of spring over winter and thus symbolizes renewal, hope, and immortality; teal identifies healing and spirituality; pink identifies the origin of the metastasis as breast cancer!” -Debby Carlson
“I am not a pink ribbon kind of girl — I’m actually quite against it. So to commemorate my journey, I got a tattoo of the chemical formula of Herceptin and I have it right under the breast that was affected. I had the tattoo done on the day I passed the three-year mark, as that is an important milestone in Her2+ cancers. Here’s a pic.” -Anonymous
“I got these after my mastectomy. It was very healing and made me feel beautiful. I believe it was therapeutic in some way.” -Wendy Snow
“I wanted to share my survivor tattoo. I am a three-year survivor — so is my mom. This dragon is me tearing apart breast cancer (pink ribbon).” -Valerie Schwarzwaelder
“Purple ribbon because I'm a survivor of domestic violence, and pink because of breast cancer, forming a heart. Because I'm still here to love and be loved!” -Anonymous
“I was inspired during my cancer journey to commemorate it with a tattoo. My faith in Jesus gave me peace and joy despite the rollercoaster ride that lasted over a year through nine surgeries, radiation, and chemo. I never wanted to forget the hope that I had during my cancer trial, so I decided to get a tattoo on my wrist to remind me that in any circumstance, the Lord is working for the good, even in the circumstance of cancer. It's been just over three years since my diagnosis and now I am NED, but several times I have encountered trials of other sorts whether it be finances, job, or parenting. Each time I start to fret, I look down at my wrist to remind myself of Romans 8:28, that God is working for the good, even in this trial. My name is Kristin Hampsten. I'm 38 years old, the mother of two small boys, married, and a full-time engineer. I'm a breast cancer survivor.” -Kristin Hampsten
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before my 24th birthday (no family history). I had a lumpectomy followed by intense chemo and radiation. I just turned 35 a couple of weeks ago. Anyhow these are tattoos that my hubby T.J. and I got a few months into dating.” -Jewelianne Joy Sawyer-Lindley
“Here's my bracelet tattoo relating to my three incidents of breast cancer. I wear multiple bangles/bracelets on my left arm and wanted one relating to breast cancer. I wanted it to be subtle but pretty and visible so it's on my right wrist. Looking at me you can't tell I have metastatic breast cancer. People think it's pretty and ask me about it. It gives me the opportunity to educate someone about metastatic breast cancer.” -Shelly
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31, on 9/1/2011. Getting my port out on 4/30/2012 signified to me the end of treatment. The cherry blossoms are for my young survivor sisters, the butterfly for me. As much as I hate cancer, it definitely made me stronger.” -Anonymous
“I got this tattoo in honor of both of my grandmothers. One lost her battle with breast cancer on January 10, 2013. The other is still fighting it. I was motivated to get this tattoo because I wanted to show respect for my grandmother who passed away and support for my grandmother who’s still hanging on.” -Bri Marchbanks
“When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my world was turned upside down. My tattoo is a constant reminder of her struggle and the inspiration she gives me. As a 20-year-old, this experience gives me more appreciation for and a new outlook on life.” -Shantelle Martin
“My mom had stage 4 breast cancer in 2003 when I was 13 years old and had to have her right breast removed. The doctor also removed some lymph nodes to check them. Thank God he did, because every one that he took out was cancerous. She had to undergo the strongest chemo treatments for a year. Ten years before my mom got breast cancer, she had stage 3 ovarian cancer. This year, we were scared she was going to get another kind of cancer, because it seems like she gets it every 10 years. But she's clear of any. I got this tattoo in honor of my strong mother fighting breast cancer and winning the battle.” -Kelli
“This is my niece’s tattoo, my sister Sonya's daughter. Both of her daughters got the same tattoo, which they designed themselves, in honor of their mom's breast cancer survival. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38. She is now seven years cancer-free! They believe there is no one stronger than their Mom.” -Dana Baker
“I didn't think I would make it at times, but I did. I got this tattoo in March of 2013, on the one year anniversary of my diagnosis date.” -Marcy
“I’m 17 years old and my aunt, who is my best friend, has stage 4 breast cancer. My mom has skin cancer. That’s why I got the pink and black ribbons. I’ve been supporting my aunt and mom since day one and got this tattoo for them. All cancer patients need to keep fighting and keep believing!” -Nicole