My Blue Dots Blog

Radiation Therapy Markings and the Blue Dots

Radiation Therapy Markings and the Blue Dots

April 22, 2015

Several methods are used in skin marking during repeated radiation therapy in order to maintain consistency of the body region to be treated. Common marking techniques include marker pen, henna, and tattoo.

Tattoo is the most commonly used method in radiation marking. A non-toxic ink is injected to the outer skin layer of the patient, and the marking is permanent. These are the markings that our organization refers to “My Blue Dots.” Tattoo is an advantageous method of marking because it ensures that the markings will not move or fade, and lessens the time it takes to set up during radiation therapy. However, it is important to note that there may be moderate pain or discomfort associated with the tattooing process.

A less common method of radiation marking is henna. In this method, leaves from the henna tree are broken down and used as ink to stain the skin surface. Compared to tattoo, henna is slightly less invasive as it is not injected to the skin. However, henna is very time-consuming and may fade during the course of radiation therapy.

The last method is marker pen. This is the easiest method of radiation marker, but also has its drawbacks. Patients are not allowed to take bathes during the length of their treatment. For some treatment courses, this means up to several months without showering!

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