A tattoo artist helping breast cancer survivors feel whole again

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A little ink can go a long way.

For breast cancer survivors tattoos can make the transition process to a new body much easier.

"So after the double mastectomy, did radiation, and you know that was a little hard," said breast cancer survivor Andrea White.

Recovering from breast cancer takes a whole lot more than surgery and chemotherapy, there's also the psychological aspect of dealing with dramatic changes to the body.

And now a tattoo is helping women move pass the disease

The artist behind this transformation is Haley Lakeman. She tattoos nipples for women who lost them to breast cancer.

"Every tattoo is important usually for people but I think this step is even more vital sort of close to home," said Lakeman with Fu's Custom Tattoo in NoDa.

White knows firsthand what that transformation is all about.

"It took a while to get comfortable with my body without my breast."

She started her road to breast reconstruction surgery at Charlotte Plastic Surgery five years after her cancer.

"I started researching what I need to do next and getting back to myself and reclaiming me after all that," said White.

Even though surviving cancer is the main goal feeling like a woman again is a desire that can't be undone.

"I was so excited and I was like how do they do that," said White.

Now that White is getting the final touches of her transformation and she feels complete thanks to a simple tattoo.

Artist Haley Lakeman says after everything breast cancer survivors have been through the tattooing process this is really the icing on the cake.

It should be the most comfortable even for women who haven't been tattooed before.

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