A 30-year-old Australian woman turned numerous times to tattoo inks to creatively change her body. However, this art form altered more than her visual self. The woman started noticing the formation of numerous lumps of small sizes. These unusual excrescences appeared solely under her arms. Her doctors were ready to call it a case of lymphoma, yet they discovered something strange regarding an old tattoo of their patient’s.
Doctors Suspected Lymphoma First before Doing a Node Biopsy
The Annals of Internal Medicine journal documented the strange case of the tattooed Australian woman. Once at the hospital, doctors discovered that the woman’s issue was of bigger proportions than initially thought. Her cancer-like lymph nodes spread from under her arms to her chest and even surrounded her lungs.
The first suspect was lymphoma. This is a type of cancer that targets the lymphatic system only. Such a network deals with expelling toxic waste from our bodies. However, the biopsy of one of these nodes located in the patient’s armpit revealed its accurate composition. The bulges were actually groups of immune cells that ink pigments glued together.
The Patient Was Having an Adverse Reaction to an Old Tattoo
The diagnosis changed from cancer to a hypersensitive reaction that started from an old tattoo. In conclusion, the authors of the case study pointed out the health risks that getting a tattoo entails. The used ink and the actual process can lead to infection, hypersensitivity, and pain. In rare cases, tattooed people can develop swollen lymph nodes.
“We believe that this case highlights the importance of a careful tattoo history and physical examination.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offered an overall look at the problems behind this art form. From 2004 to 20016, there were 463 reported cases regarding adverse reactions to tattoos. The number might be small, but there might be numerous other side effects that weren’t brought to the attention of authorities.
On top of that, there is not one tattoo ink on the market that has the approval of the FDA. The agency explained this reluctance based on health hazards these substances carry with them. Such pigments that are incorporated directly into people’s bodies may contain mold or bacteria. On top of that, there is no process so far that can testify the safety of a tattoo ink.
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