After mastectomy, some women visit tattoo artists

By Alex Stern, Abigail Holtzman | WHYY  March 2018

“The first time I looked in the mirror and saw myself after my double mastectomy, it was kind of shocking,” Maureen Matteis-Bilbee says.

“I had major scars going straight across my breasts, and there were no areolas, no nipples. It felt like it wasn’t my body.”

Doctors found abnormal cells in Matteis-Bilbee’s breasts a few years ago. There’s a history of breast cancer in her family; her grandmother died of it when she was young. Matteis-Bilbee opted for surgery as the surest way to avoid cancer.

20 years ago, a breast reduction had repositioned her nipples and areolas. This time, the surgeon performing her mastectomy was not able to save them.

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