We went completely tattooless for our breast, chest and extremity patients the beginning of this year. We are still working on officially publishing our numbers, however preliminary responses are astounding. Verbal responses have been patients crying during simulation when they realize that they are not going to get the marks they read about on the internet.
Some questions that I would find to be important for a survey assuming that you are surveying both patients with tattoos and patients going forward without tattoos, would be:
- At what age did you receive radiation treatment?
- Did you receive permanent tattoos, temp marks or both for treatment?
- What are your overall feelings about receiving tattoos for radiation? (the open comments for this section a very powerful)
- How far would you go for technology that would allow for you to get treatment without tattoos?
- In your opinion was the time you had to lay on the table too long or uncomfortable?
- If you were to be able to be setup faster using tattoos would you choose tattoos over tattoo-less radiation?
In a survey being done in collaboration with the Young Survival Coalition, initial finding are out of 117 respondents, 53% received permanent tattoos, 25% tattoos and temp marks. Out of 110 respondents 76% stated they would choose a facility that offered technology such as Vision RT to avoid tattoos and that they would be willing to drive ~47 miles or 40 minutes in 1 direction to get to the facility. Hopefully the full results of this survey will be published soon along with a couple of surveys showing the results of setup time and residual shifts that are made daily.
I would to share more in depth information with you if you are interested and get your feedback as well. The more information we can gather from other clinics that are moving in this direction the better. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.