A woman who was told she may have cancer has now discovered that her symptoms were actually caused by old tattoo ink in her system.

The 30-year-old woman had complained of small lumps under her arms, which had been present for about two weeks. After a trip to the doctor, she underwent a full body-scan, which showed up further enlarged nodes in her chest, causing doctors to fear the worst.

The swollen lymph node doctors removed from the woman. Credit: Annals Of Internal Medicine

Doctors thought the woman's swollen lymph nodes could have been a sign of lymphoma - a form of cancer - but were shocked after putting looking at it under a microscope and finding out it was black tattoo pigment, which had been in her system for 15 years.

Doctor Christian Bryant, a hematologist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, told CNN: "Ninety-nine times out of 100, this will be lymphoma."

Swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of cancer, but they can also become enlarged due to an infection.

Credit: PA

The unnamed woman's lymph nodes were swollen due to a reaction to the ink, despite it previously spending around 15 years in her system without causing any side-effects. Doctors are stumped as to what caused the delayed reaction.

The woman had two tattoos - one covering her back, and a smaller one on her shoulder.

She told doctors that occasionally, for a few days a month, her tattooed skin would itch.

Dr Bryant continued: "There's no way of knowing how common it is. Most people who have tattoos have absolutely no problems."

The black pigment had caused a reaction, despite the tattoo being so old. Credit: PA

Fortunately, there's no lasting damage to the tattooed woman, Dr Bryant told CNN Bryant told CNN: "It's not going to cause this lady any major problems, which means we're allowed to be interested without feeling sad.

"My job's often not like that."

He added that, although reports have stated that doctors have previously seen pigmented lymph nodes that could be mistaken for melanoma, this is the first time they've come across a case where it looked like it could be lymphoma.

The case has been written up in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, because it's so unusual.

Sources: CNN; Annals of Internal Medicine journal

Featured Image Credit: PA

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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