Free tattoos give breast cancer survivors hope

LELYSTAD, Netherlands (AFP) — Flowers and butterflies surround the scars left by the removal of Jacqueline van Schaik’s breasts, thanks to a new tattoo the cancer survivor says she treasures.

“It’s magnificent,” exclaims an emotional Van Schaik, 56, looking at herself in the mirror at the end of the session at a tattoo parlor in the central Dutch city of Lelystad.

“I don’t see the scars anymore. I only see this gem,” added the mother-of-one, who underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with cancer in October 2020, followed by extensive chemo- and radiotherapy.

Her tattooist, Darryl Veer, is part of a growing group of ink artists ready to help women love their bodies again after the traumatic experience of a mastectomy.

Around one in seven women in the Netherlands develops breast cancer during their lifetime, Dutch health authority figures said.

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