BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) – What can be a bittersweet reminder of what a cancer patient undergoes- no longer needs to be permanent.
“It’s going to be a very simple process, ” is what Cynthia Houlihan is hearing at LaFrance Medical Aesthetics.
She is in, to get rid of a small reminder of her fight against breast cancer.
“I was not thrilled with the tattoo, I will tell you that right away. I just didn’t even like the idea of it.”
But understood the tattoo, two tiny spots, was needed for her radiation treatment.
Dr. Jeffrey LaFrance explains, “Marks are essential for treatment because you want to accurately aim the beam with each treatment session that you are trying to do.”
He is among a handful of doctors in Connecticut offering the New Beginnings Radiation Mark Removal program created by the American Society of Laser Surgery and Medicine.
“It’s a way to help a patient work through some of the emotional trauma that has been associated with it,” he says, “The marks are not professional grade tattoos, which is fortunate because that makes them much more easily to be removed.”
For Cynthia — the markers were bittersweet.
“It reminded you to take care of yourself and kind of what you went through,” she says.
Still- after learning about the program for cancer survivors – she decided to get them removed for free.
The one on her chest was especially bothersome.
“That one bothered me every once in awhile,” Cynthia says, “It seemed like a little smudged, you kinda of want to erase it and it out of the way.”
The laser pulses quickly erases the no longer permanent signs of what Cynthia faced nearly 11 years ago.
Dr. LaFrance says, “The laser energy is delivered extremely quick and sort of shatters the ink out of the tissue that holds it and then the body’s own immune system comes along and kinda cleans it up.”
No longer visible in just seconds.
Cynthia says, “Really no pain, a little ping and a little burning, very slightly and gone.”
What is not gone, her battle with breast cancer, forever etched in her memory.
“I think overtime,” she says, “you sort of fall into the fact that you are a breast cancer survivor and you’re proud of it, always remembering what you went through.”
While the program is for all cancer survivors, Dr. LaFrance says it mostly benefits breast cancer and lymphoma patients.
For more information – call LaFrance Medical Aesthetics at 860-845-8296
It is located at 72 Pine Street in Bristol, CT
For all physicians in Connecticut participating, click here.