Four women affected by breast cancer have shown their support for a ghd campaign, which will raise money for Breast Cancer Now, by sharing their experiences of getting a mastectomy tattoo after treatment for breast cancer.
To celebrate 15 years of supporting breast cancer charities, ghd has partnered with renowned mastectomy tattoo artist, David Allen, whose signature creations have helped thousands of women to move forward after breast cancer surgery. David Allen’s iconic artwork on one of his US clients, Grace Lombardo, adorns the new pink hair stylers in the latest ghd collection, which is aiming to raise more than £1m Globally for Breast Cancer Charities.
To support the campaign, Alice, Kathleen, Natasha and Natasha, who have had a mastectomy tattoo after breast cancer surgery, are sharing their own experiences.
Alice: I’m so grateful I’ve been able to reclaim my body
Getting a tattoo has transformed how I feel about my body and my breast in such an incredible way. I’ve gone from having a scar that reminds me of everything I’ve been through to having a beautiful piece of art that I carry with me every single day. I’m so grateful I’ve been able to reclaim my body in this way.
The idea for the tattoo came to me like a dream. I’m a writer and I love stories. Writing about breast cancer has been a huge part of my recovery - I’ve even written a book about it!
Writing has been a massive solace for me, not only through this experience but throughout my whole life. Because of this, it felt like it made sense to mark this experience with a quill design for my tattoo.
After deciding on a quill, I wanted some powerful words to go along with my tattoo. One of my favourite films is Hook and one of the last lines is ‘to live would be an awfully big adventure’. To me that sums up my life after breast cancer.
Natasha: My tattoo makes me feel free
I’m not the only member of my family to have had a cancer diagnosis. Eight members of my family have also been diagnosed with cancer, including my sister who was going through treatment when I was diagnosed in 2014. She sadly passed away.
The experience of cancer has been so difficult, in terms of my journey and so many people passing in my family. My breast is something beautiful to me. It closed the chapter in my life that day. It made me feel free.
Kathleen: I got a tattoo to symbolise that my life was there for living
I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer first in 2005 and again in 2010. I had multiple scars from four operations, including a mastectomy, but I was never embarrassed about them.
When I reached the five-year anniversary after my second primary breast cancer diagnosis, I wanted to do something to mark how I had been feeling.
I chose to get a tattoo of a lily because it symbolises life, and my life was certainly going to be there for the living!
Since I’ve had my tattoo I feel it’s given me more confidence in my own body. I feel like I’m more in control and don’t feel so aware of my scars. I am thrilled with my tattoo. Now when I look at where my breast used to be, I’m reminded not of operations but of the beauty of life.
Natasha: My tattoo is my way of coping with what I’ve been through
I was first diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2011. I had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Six years later I had a recurrence, this time having a double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction.
With my reconstruction, I opted not to have my nipples saved or tattooed as I didn’t see the point. They didn’t feel like my breasts any more.
I’ve always marked every big moment in my life with a tattoo. After my second primary diagnosis I bought a cherry tree for the garden to give my two children something to remember me by if my breast cancer became incurable. They would be able to have a place to go and think about their mum. This tree is what inspired my cherry blossom tattoo.
It’s been about two years since I got my mastectomy tattoo and I love it now more than ever. When people ask why I’ve got it, I can tell them my story. My tattoo is my way of coping with what I have had to go through.
For this year’s campaign, £10 from every styler sold in the UK will be donated to Breast Cancer Now. The money raised will help Breast Cancer Now fund life-saving research to reach its ambition that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.
This year, ghd’s campaign is set to raise £1 million for breast cancer charities globally.
Read our information on tattoos after breast cancer surgery.