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IPFS News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

Tattoos Associated With Increased Lymphoma Risk, And Size Doesn't Matter: Study

•, by George Citroner

A new study finds the ink used in creating popular body art contains toxic ingredients linked to a higher risk of lymphoma, cancer that begins in germ-fighting lymphatic system. Having just a single tattoo seems to raise your odds.

Tattoos Increase Cancer Risk by 21 Percent

Tattoos have grown increasingly popular as a means of self-expression. Around 32 percent of Americans have at least one tattoo, and an estimated 22 percent have multiple.

However, as tattoos become more widespread, so too has the incidence of malignant lymphoma—increasing 3 percent to 4 percent over the past 40 years. Recent research from Lund University in Sweden, published in The Lancet's eClinicalMedicine, suggests a potential connection.

The study analyzed data from nearly 12,000 people aged 20 to 60, matched with a control group of the same age and sex without lymphoma. Participants completed questionnaires about lifestyle factors, including tattoos. Researchers found that those with tattoos were more likely to develop malignant lymphoma compared to those without tattoos.

People with tattoos had a 21 percent higher risk of developing any type of lymphoma after adjusting for other factors.

The lymphoma risk was highest (81 percent higher) for those who got their first tattoo less than two years before being diagnosed. The risk decreased for those who had gotten their tattoos between three and 10 years ago but increased again (19 percent higher risk) for those who had gotten their first tattoo 11 or more years ago.

Size Doesn't Seem to Matter

A larger total tattoo size did not seem to increase the risk further.

"We do not yet know why this was the case," Christel Nielsen, who led the study, said in a press release. "One can only speculate that a tattoo, regardless of size, triggers a low-grade inflammation in the body, which in turn can trigger cancer."

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