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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cancer Topics

Question: Tattoo pigment carcinogens

 pfhutchi - Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:07 am

When considering modern Tattoo pigments, the list of carcinogenic compounds in commercially available inks is somewhat staggering. Knowing these compounds are now injected into the dermis and will slowly leach into the lymph nodes over time, is the likelyhood that cancer will develope better if the tattoo is left alone or if laser removal breaks down the ink particles for lymphocytes to remove? I am considering age as a factor (mid 20's) and my logic tells me that the sooner the particles are removed the better but I also understand that degredation of the particles can also release even more toxins. What is the best bet?

Thank you for your time and consideration
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:16 am

User avatar While some of the pigments may be known carcinogens, to my knowledge, there is still no hard evidence saying tattoos are linked to cancer. As such, I really don't have any data to be able to answer your question with any validity.

We don't have long term outcomes from tattoos for the most part so there still may be an increased risk many years after the tattoo was done but I don't anticipate it to be very significant.

So, probably the best way to answer your question is to say that from what we know now it should be safe to have it lasered if you choose (or just leave it if you choose).

Best wishes. Sorry I can't give you a more definitive answer.

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