Areola tattoo procedure nips remnants of cancer in the bud for survivors​

“This is what women go through all the time and nobody talks about it."

Hadas Kuznits
October 18, 2018 - 6:19 pm
Kristina Kociuba, Breast cancer survivor

Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio


This story contains images of breast reconstruction. 


MT. LAUREL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) —  A South Jersey cosmetic center hosted a Day of Hope celebration on Thursday in which they offered free areola tattoos for breast cancer survivors.

Kristina Kociuba celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month with areola breast tattoos. 

“I recently celebrated three years cancer-free on Tuesday, and so this is the closing chapter of a three-year journey,” she said. 

Rose Marie Beauchemin Verzella, owner and founder of The Beau Institute, spent a little under an hour to tattoo Kociuba’s breasts. 

“She has a nipple graft, and so basically all we’re doing is coloring it in and giving it a realistic effect,” she explained. 

She also pointed out the artistry of this procedure, saying that “we’re creating an affect that gives you a very realistic texture called pointillism."

Provided by The Beau Institute

Above, a photo of Kristina Kociuba before the tattoos. Below, a photo of her after the session. 

Provided by The Beau Institute

Kociuba seemed calm during the procedure and explained that "physically, I don’t feel anything. That is one thing that we are left with, no feeling after mastectomy."     

But she certainly felt something afterward when she took a good look at her body for the first time in three years.

“I have breasts again," she said through tears. "They’re real and they’re mine.”

She added that for her, allowing people to witness an intimate moment like this provides more opportunities for important conversations to happen. 

“This is what women go through all the time and nobody talks about it. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, more people need to see this,” she said.