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Does a new study show tattoos increase blood cancer risk – or is it the lifestyle of tattooed people that is to blame? 

Summarised by Centrist

Tattoos are associated with a 21% increased risk of lymphoma blood cancer, Lund University Sweden researchers have found.  

Although the study’s authors caution that the results may suggest it is more the lifestyle of people who get tattoos that increases the risk of cancer.

While the study opens up investigation into carcinogens in tattoo ink, the authors had to “adjust their analysis for potentially confounding factors.” 

They say that such lifestyle factors – including educational attainment, income, smoking, and marital status – could influence the results. 

They also found that the size of tattoos studied had minimal effect on the risk of cancer. 

Study author Dr Christel Nielsen told Medical News Today that following any tattoo, the immune system moves some ink particles to the lymph nodes. However, Nielsen’s team are still trying to “connect the dots” in understanding “how our health is affected by permanent storage of potentially toxic chemicals within the immune system.” 

Risk was found to be 81% higher for people with tattoos than without in the two years immediately after receiving a tattoo, dropping 3–10 years post-tattooing then increasing to a 19% higher risk after 11 years.

The study concludes that tattoos’ impact on health has still not been adequately scrutinised and that results will likely vary when different types of cancer are studied.  

Read more over at Medical News Today

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