News - 24 September 2019

Breast Journal publishes impact of tattoos on radiation therapy patients

Breast Journal publishes impact of tattoos on radiation therapy patients

24 September 2019. The Breast Journal has published a study on the impact of tattoos on radiation therapy patients.

Until recently, permanent tattoos and temporary skin marks were requirements in the delivery of radiation therapy. While the marks helped the accuracy of treatment delivery, women were left with permanent reminders of their experience. For some, these reminders pose a significant psychosocial challenge, compounding the issues of physical changes to their breast and body. This is especially relevant given that alternatives to these marks are now available[1],[2].

Between February and August 2018, Vision RT collected data from 138 members of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). Founded in 1998, YSC’s mission is to help women under 40 face the critical issues that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis. Women who received breast cancer radiotherapy with tattoos or marks were surveyed to gain insight into their responses to this treatment.

Some key findings in the study were:

  • 70% had negative feelings about this involuntary body modification
  • 78% of patients would choose a treatment which avoided tattoos and/or marks
  • 45 miles is the average additional distance patients are willing to travel to a center that is tattooless/markless 

“In the past, the standard of care for radiation therapy included the use of tattoos or marks for setup and there was little thought about, or research conducted on, the emotional impact of these body modifications. This study yielded powerful data that clinicians need to seriously consider as they evaluate their treatment approach,” says Torsten Moser, MD, Clinical Physicist, Vision RT Ltd. 

In another study, avoiding visible tattoos has been shown to result in improved body image scores[3]. This study further supports the value of avoiding visible patient markings.

Embracing new technology while elevating patient care, 25+ centers have already gone tattooless and markless around the world.  Many of these can be found on

Additional resources:

The full article from The Breast Journal can be found (open access) at

Listen to some radiation oncology thought leaders from tattooless and markless clinics speak about their clinical experience. offers patients education and resources about tattooless and markless treatment and helps them find a tattooless and markless center near them.

About Vision RT

Vision RT is a radiation oncology medtech company that provides market-leading products Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT). With a range of solutions in the radiation therapy market, its products are installed in many of the leading treatment centers in the world, including around 70% of the 50 US News & World Reports’ “Best Hospitals for Cancer”. With approximately 70 granted patents plus more than 50 pending, Vision RT continues to innovate in the radiation oncology space and is committed to making SGRT the standard of care for all patients, worldwide.

Vision RT is part of the William Demant Invest (WDI) family, a leading Danish Medtech investor with a long-term investment perspective. The companies in WDI employ more than 18,000 people, with total revenue of more than $3 billion.

[1] Bert et al. Clinical experience with a 3D surface patient setup system for alignment of partial-breast irradiation patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Mar 15;64(4):1265-74.

[2] Gierga et al. A Voluntary Breath-Hold Treatment Technique for the Left Breast With Unfavorable Cardiac Anatomy Using Surface Imaging. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Dec 1;84(5):e663-8

[3] Landeg et al. A randomized control trial evaluating fluorescent ink versus dark ink tattoos for breast radiotherapy. Br J Radiol. 2016 Dec;89(1068).

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