Their courage is beyond compare.

By Samantha Lauriello
October 19, 2018

Last year, a New York City photographer decided to showcase the strength of women who have undergone a mastectomy by taking photos of the inspiring mastectomy tattoos each woman had done following her surgery. Now, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the photos have gone viral once again.

Sophy Holland teamed up with Inked magazine to photograph the “dazzling dozen,” 12 women from all walks of life who have one thing in common: they view their mastectomies as a beautiful part of who they are, and they have tattoos to prove it.

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The shoot was part of the magazine’s Inked for a Cause campaign, and the images were published in the October 2017 issue. Some of the women have brightly colored flower tattoos on top of their mastectomy scars, and others have elegant birds with open wings.

One of the women, Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz, told Inked she opted for a preventative mastectomy after learning she had the BRCA gene mutation and an 87% chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime.

"I became more confident in myself after my mastectomy. I would never go topless before. And now here I am—no nipples, scars—and I’m able to show everyone what I look like and feel beautiful," Malkin-Lazarovitz said.

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Another, Jennifer Jaye, was six years cancer-free at the time of the shoot. She said beating breast cancer opened her life to adventure.

"I picked up surfing. I’m kicking ass with ice climbing. If I die in some extreme sporting event, my last thought will be, ‘Oh, thank God cancer didn’t get me!" Jaye said. 

Those featured in this shoot are examples of the thousands of strong women we’re honoring during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Their courage is beyond compare, and when women like them share their stories with the world, they give us hope that one day we'll put this disease in its place once and for all.

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