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If you are contemplating getting a tattoo, you better think twice. Swedish researchers have uncovered a link between a heightened risk of contracting cancer and getting a tattoo. In their findings, the researchers discovered that people with tattoos have a 21% chance of being diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer compared to those without.

Carcinogenic Chemicals

While there have been debates about tattoos’ health risks, it has always been concluded that most inks used in creating tattoos in human bodies contain carcinogenic chemicals. It is these compounds that increase the risk of developing severe blood cancer. Some harmful chemicals found in the inks known to cause cancer include polycyclic, aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic amines, and metals.

While getting a tattoo, these chemicals are injected into the skin, and the immune system cells carry them to the lymph nodes, which are the sites where lymphoma begins. The researchers mention that there is proof suggesting these nanoparticles can remain and build up over time in the lymph nodes, possibly leading to the development of cancer through damage to DNA and ongoing inflammation over an extended period.

Researchers have discovered that whenever the tattoo ink is injected into the skin, the body recognizes it as an intruder that doesn’t belong and activates the immune system. A significant portion of the ink is moved away from the skin to the lymph nodes, where it is stored.

Cancer Risk

The study revealed some notably significant patterns. Individuals who received their initial tattoo less than two years prior to their diagnosis with lymphoma were found to have an 81% greater chance of developing blood cancer compared to those without tattoos.

Individuals who received their first tattoo more than 11 years before their diagnosis also showed a 19% increased risk of lymphoma. The laser tattoo removal process was found to significantly boost the risk of lymphoma by almost three times, although this conclusion was drawn from a limited sample size.

Although the processes seem logical from a biological perspective, other cancer specialists highlight that the total risk associated with tattoos seems minimal for a single person, according to the research. The research indicates that there might be one to two additional cases of lymphoma for every 100 individuals with tattoos in comparison to those without tattoos.