Cancer treatments often leave both emotional and physical scars of the painful experience. But now a Brevard County medical spa is offering a free service to help patients leave it all behind.
Melbourne's Melanie Calderon did a self exam in October 2011, right in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
A week later she was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. She caught it early and began radiation treatments in June of 2012.
"I actually had no idea until I went in for my first appointment that there was going to be any kind of tattoos or permanent markings," said Calderon.
The tiny tattoos aren't decorative. Instead they're used during the radiation sessions.
A machine is centered on the area being treated, so that it hits only the cancer and not surrounding tissue.
"They actually place permanent marks so every time you come in for your session, the machine is lined up on those marks, and you're getting an accurate treatment," said Iris Kelley, co-owner of Millefiori Medical Skin Rejuvenation.
For Melanie, she's now cancer free and grateful. But those marks 'marked' a reminder of a time in her life she'd like to forget.
"I saw them everyday, even if no one else could," she said.
Recently she spotted an ad from Millefiori, whose services include removing tattoos. They began offering free cancer radiation mark removal to all Brevard County residents.
The sessions only last five minutes each, six weeks apart. But the changes last a lifetime.
"Those radiation marks, for most people, they don't like the way they make them feel afterwards," said Kelley.
"It's just one less reminder of what I've gone through," said Calderon.