The marked body: Exploring experiences of post-mastectomy scarring, body image and change through artistic tattooing

Tina-Maree Newlan, Jenni Greig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Breast cancer has become the most prevalent cancer globally, predominantly affecting women, with mastectomy surgery a frequent treatment. Women often experience a discrepancy between their post-mastectomy body, and their former sense of self, affecting negatively on wellbeing. The narratives of eight women who chose to artistically tattoo over their mastectomy scars were explored in this study, through semi-structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Seven master themes are presented. These themes follow the women from a state of disruption (of body image and gender identity) and surgical scarring as the first marking of the body, to the second marking of the body through artistic tattooing, bringing with it transformation, acceptance, feeling heard and connection with the artist, closure
and control and the creation of significance and meaning. Viewed through Self-Discrepancy Theory, the findings of this study has implications for psycho-oncology and wellbeing support for women following mastectomy surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-395
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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