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Myths VS Facts: Do you Really Need Tattoos?

If you would prefer a tattooless or markless radiation therapy option you’re not alone. 

In the past, patients receiving radiation therapy treatment were given three to four small tattoos to provide alignment to the affected area. Though some individuals did not mind the marks, even feeling empowered by them, others found them to be a painful reminder of their treatment which was associated with negative feelings about their body image.   

In a recent study, 138 Young Survival Coalition members were asked how they felt about their tattoos, 78% said they would prefer a tattooless or markless option and would spend more time, money and travel further (up to 45 miles) to get treatment at a center with a tattooless or markless option.

If you’re curious to learn more about tattoos and treatment, please read this blog on the Young Survival Coalition website and see some of the myths and facts below. 


Myth: Tattoos offer more accuracy.   

Fact: Using new technology, AlignRT®, you receive the same, if not better accuracy without marks or tattoos.1,2,3 


Myth: Tattoo marks can be washed away at the conclusion of treatment  

Fact: Tattoos are permanent marks that will last a lifetime unless removed with a laser – which may leave a lightened area of skin.  


Myth: Having a tattoo mark placed is not painful  

Fact: While this might be true for some patients, others find it a painful process. Watch this video (Link to Maureen video). 


Myth: Tattoos are needed to mark the area treated now in case you need re-treatment at a later date 

Fact: With modern 3D treatment planning and other imaging technologies, if you need further treatment, your radiation team will scan you again and will use the previous records to generate an accurate, new treatment plan.  In fact, as people change shape over time, even permanent marks cannot be guaranteed to give the right position for future treatment. 


Interested in finding a tattooless treatment center near you? Check out our treatment locator here.