How Tattoo Artists Could Save Your Life


Tattoo artists in the West Country are taking part in a new skin cancer scheme.

The North Bristol Trust is encouraging tattooists to educate themselves and many have attended evening hospital based lectures about the signs of melanoma in their clients.

Melanoma is the most common skin cancer in young adults and can be deadly if it is not recognised and treated early on. Approximately 300 patients are diagnosed with skin cancer in Bristol’s Southmead Hospital each year alone. In Britain as a whole, 13’000 new cases of melanoma are discovered each year and the majority of those people probably wouldn’t know how to identify it. Now North Bristol Trust is holding training for local tattoo artists to help them spot moles or growths on customers that could be potential melanomas.

Southmead Hospital
Southmead Hospital

These took place in the evening of the 12th of April at Southmead Hospital. It included presentations showing the attendants what to look for and how to identify if it is a possible melanoma. Skin care experts at the hospital say they already treat people who visited their GPs after unusual marks were spotted by hairdressers and podiatrists. The event came about after information about a study in Brazil, where tattoo artists were targeted as part of an awareness campaign, came to light. In result, medics felt it would be worthwhile playing host to an educational evening. MacMillan Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse said:

“Tattoo artists are looking at people’s skin all day and may well spot if there is something that does not look quite right.
We hope that if we educate some of the tattoo artists locally they may be able to potentially save the lives of their customers by advising them to get checked out.
We are looking forward to meeting some tattoo artists for an interesting and informative evening.”

Ben Boston of The Tattoo Studio
Ben Boston of The Tattoo Studio

Ben Boston has been tattooing people for twenty years and has his own tattoo parlour, The Tattoo Studio, in Bristol. During a session he noticed the change of size in a mole on a clients back. His attentiveness with this client meant that she was made aware of her melanoma before it was too late and in turn saving her life. This highlights the usefulness of schemes like this. Boston’s knowledge in what to look for is something that medical professionals are keen to roll out to other aesthetic industries, such as: masseurs, hairdressers and beauticians.

Schemes like this one could aid in drastically reducing undiagnosed cases of skin cancer throughout the UK. If you work in the aesthetic industry, would you be willing to educate yourself in this?

You can watch Ben’s interview with the BBC here

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