Fluorescent tattoo ink might make a big difference in the life of cancer patients. Permanent ink marks are an important part of cancer treatment in many situations, as they let the doctors know where to place the powerful rays that destroy the tumor.
Now, doctors are looking into the use of fluorescent tattoos that would be visible under UV light and spare patients the road map that many have on their bodies long after the cancer is gone. The pilot study is being presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference. The Royal Marsden Hospital in London has already been using the new approach on breast cancer patients.
Half of the women at the hospital were offered the UV tattoos and the other half continued to use the regular tattoos. They found that 56% of the women with the fluorescent tattoos felt better about their bodies a month after treatment compared to 14% of the women who received the ink tattoos.
The tattoo types made no difference in the accuracy of the treatment and took only slightly longer to carry out. Interestingly, the UV tattoos also showed up better on dark-skinned women.
As Professor Matthew Seymour from the National Cancer Research Institute said, “With more than half of all cancer patients now surviving 10 years and beyond, it’s imperative that we do everything we can to reduce the long term impact of treatment on patients, including cosmetic changes.”