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NEW YORK - MAY 3: A doctor from the American Academy of Dermatology checks Christine Trerotoli for signs of skin cancer May 3, 2004 at Bryant Park in New York City. The American Academy of Dermatology offered free skin cancer screenings at the day long clinic and gave advice on how to protect your skin from the sun. More than one million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year which will kill an estimated 10,250 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tattoos are very popular these days. It’s tough to find a professional athlete not covered head to toe with them.

But there is a down side to tattoos and that is the possibility that the intricate designs and colors can hide instances of skin cancer.

Tattoo Artists Could Help Control The Spread Of Skin Cancer

According to a JAMA Dermatology Journal survey fifty-five percent of tattoo artists refused to tattoo skin with a rash, lesion or spot.

Another 40 percent tattooed around moles and 43 percent said they either tattooed over moles, of left it to the discretion of the client as to what to do with moles.

Twenty-nine percent recommended clients have any questionable moles or skin issues checked out before being tattooed.

Perhaps a course in skin cancer red flags might be a good idea in licensing a tattoo business.

Melanoma and Skin Cancer

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer but is usually successfully treatable when discovered in the early stages.

Tattoos do not cause melanoma but the various colors of ink can disguise them.

While I don’t have any tattoos, my dermatologist found a cancerous spot on my back a few years ago and removed it. Now I get checked out head to toe yearly.

Some Final Thoughts

Dirty needles by the tattooist would be the major worry in getting a tattoo. And some people are sorry that they got tattoos sometime after the fact.

Whether you’re a fan of tattoos or not, the fact remains that they can hide dangerous, and in some cases, life threatening skin conditions.

Before having a needle taken to your body have the part to be tattooed checked out and OK’d by a medical professional.

Better safe then sorry.

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