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Should You Be Concerned About Getting Tattoos?

Tattoos can be traced back to 5000 BC.  In the United States, the growth of the tattoo industry has been astronomical and currently, 32% of Americans have at least one tattoo with 22% have more than one.  Tattoos are generational in nature: 41% of millennials have them but only 13% of baby boomers sport tattoos.  Being a baby boomer myself, there was clearly a social stigma of sorts associated with tattoos.  They seemed to appear more in those days on truckers, military, motorcycle riders and on people in professions that were considered to be “blue collar” in nature as opposed to the college graduates.  Obviously, this has changed dramatically over the years and now, pretty much every profession has people that opted for art on their bodies.

It has always been known that the risks of getting tattoos were mostly in and around the infections people could get if sterile technique was not practiced well by the studio/person placing the tattoo.  Skin structure infections, hepatitis and other infections could be contracted.  States and local jurisdictions mandate licensing of studios and the people working in this industry and part of the training is the focus on sterile techniques.

A new study coming out of Sweden linked the development of lymphoma to people that had tattoos.  This was the Non-Hodgkins type and people with tattoos had a 22% increase risk of this cancer compared to people that did not have any tattoos.

More studies are needed to assess this correlation of cancer to having tattoos.  Like any other decision in life, Risk vs. Benefit analysis should be thought intensely.  The benefits of having tattoos?  Obviously the answer to this question must be answered individually.  Most people in my generation will see zero benefit from having artwork on your own body whereas younger generations may glean lots of self-perceived benefits such as attention from others, expressing themselves, etc.  Aside from the risk of infection, we now need to look deeper into the associated cancer risks.

And here is a funny one…Weird Al Yankovic signing “Another Tattoo”.

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