The girl with the cancer tattoo

  • N Kairinos
  • D Asmal Cape Town Mediclinic
Keywords: tattoos, cancer


With the tattoo industry expanding, tattoos are becoming even more popular than before. In the wound care industry it is not uncommon to be faced with a wound on a tattooed limb, usually due to a cause unrelated to the tattoo. Although complications following tattooing are rare, cases of wounds due to tattooing are possible due to infections that arise immediately following the procedure and also as a result of reactions to the ink. As with all wounds, however, one must always be cognisant of the possibility of malignancy developing in a wound or even being the original cause of the wound. One such case of a wound developing soon after tattooing is reported, which was later discovered to be a malignancy. This case illustrates the importance of always suspecting malignancy when dealing with wounds and not to be distracted by another apparent cause for the wound. This is particularly important in chronic wounds that do not respond to therapy.

Author Biographies

N Kairinos

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Wound Healing Southern Africa

D Asmal, Cape Town Mediclinic

Dermatologist, Cape Town Mediclinic and Rondebosch Medical Centre

Case Study