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Brazilian tattooists on the front lines of helping detect skin cancer

LatinaLista — It’s a safe assumption that the thousands of World Cup fans descending on Brazil this month will come home with souvenirs. Some may even come home with a permanent one — a tattoo. For those who do, it could probably be the best souvenir of their lives.

Brazilian tattoo artists have been offered the opportunity to take a free online course called Tatuador Consciente or Conscientious Tattooist. They are trained by doctors to recognize signs of skin cancer as they are inking. If they see something suspicious, they explain to their clients why it’s alarming and direct them to see their doctor.

Several hundred tattoo artists have completed the course, after which they receive a certificate to hang in their studios. All the tattoo artists who finish the course get their names entered into a directory on the website where people can choose the certified tattooist closest to them.

The project was started as a joint initiative between Ogilvy Brasil, promoting the sunscreen brand Sol de Janeiro, and the A C Camargo Cancer Center. Since the sunscreen brand targets young people, who are known to over-expose themselves in the sun, the idea was to create a campaign that would be relevant to them and help get more early diagnosis of life-threatening cancers.

The project is considered a success. With tattoo artists seeing an average of six people a day, it means thousands, who ordinarily would not think twice about visiting a dermatologist, are receiving life-saving advice, along with, a piece of art that will be a constant reminder to take care of their skin.

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