Tattoos Mistaken as Cancer Metastases, Surgery Performed

“Physicians should be aware that tattoo ink can look like the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes on diagnostic imaging — and unnecessary treatment can result.

“That is the take-home message from a case report of a 32-year-old woman with locally advanced cervical cancer.

“The 14 tattoos that extensively covered the legs of the mother of four had been applied over an 11-year period. Images included a black panther, the phrase ‘I’ve got baggage’ (with the image of a suitcase), and the title of a children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba. The most recent tattoo had been applied 2 years before her presentation.

“As in many cases of locally advanced cervical cancer, imaging was performed before surgery to look for metastatic disease, according to Narine Grove, MD, and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine.”