Medical tattooing has developed within the industry, offering people a wide range of options for scar coverage and 3D designs to replicate areolas, belly buttons and even toe nails. This form of tattooing can be truly life changing for people, restoring confidence and and a sense of self.
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that’s why it’s time to let you know about the Mastectomy Tattooing Alliance.
You may have seen previous articles regarding the No Regrets raffle including three Indian Motorcycle Chiefs, customised by Mayonaize, Shige and Carlos Torres. Profits from these raffles are being donated to the MTA, but to get a better understanding of the charity, we asked them some questions about this incredible form of tattooing.
Who is the Mastectomy Tattooing Alliance?
The MTA is a non-profit organisation founded by Tanya Buxton in 2021, created to help support people within the breast cancer community, helping people to reclaim their bodies after mastectomy surgeries. Tanya is a medical, cosmetic and traditional tattoo artist and owner of Paradise tattoo studio in Cheltenham.
What is a mastectomy tattoo?
A mastectomy tattoo is often in the form of a 3D areola tattoo – recreating the look of a natural nipple. Some clients may choose to cover their scars with larger pieces, such as floral designs.
How do donations help the MTA?
Every donation made helps us in a number of ways; We can put this money into funding free clinics for the breast cancer community so they don’t have to pay for these tattoos. We are also developing a training programme, created by Tanya, so she can deliver this to artists who would like to train with the MTA and be part of our certified network.
So can any artist join the MTA?
Artists can enquire through the website to register their interest in becoming part of the MTA. As we are still in the process of developing the training programme. We will hopefully be able to take on more artists soon!
Are these tattoos available as part of the NHS service?
Short answer – yes… However, not all hospitals offer this as a service and sadly, most nurses are not qualified from a tattooing perspective to carry out these life changing and really important tattoos. That’s not meant as a negative towards the nurses in any way – as an organisation we would love to eventually work with the NHS to remove this strain.
Often, nurses will undergo a two-day course in areola tattooing, using semi-permanent inks, and then be qualified to deliver these tattoos.
And the MTA uses only permanent inks?
Always! Not only does this offer better results, but for the client it removes the element of having to have repeat appointments. Semi-permanent inks obviously fade so top-up sessions are required. This would no doubt be an incredibly emotional experience each time and mentally damaging in the way of preventing people moving on from this time in their lives. Using permanent inks offer closure to a lot of women and men that want to close the door, reclaim their bodies, and feel like themselves again.
“After my tattoo was complete, I could actually look in the mirror and feel like a woman again.” Melanie, MTA client
As an organisation what are you organising within October to raise awareness?
We like to think we try and raise awareness every month but particularly for Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 22nd, our founder Tanya Buxton has arranged a nationwide tattoo fundraising day to raise funds and awareness. Artists all over the country are getting on board to donate a percentage of their takings that day, some of which are creating specialised flash designs, which is amazing!
We also have fundraising packs available via the website so people can choose to host coffee mornings, bake sales or have a donation box on display in their shops. It’s so wonderful how many people are supporting us and we hope to grow the MTA in 2022!