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Updated Feb 12, 2014 - 7:39 am

Peoria tattoo artist helps breast cancer survivors

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Valley woman is helping breast cancer survivors look like their old selves.

When you walk into Simple Body Art near Arrowhead mall in Peoria, you'll find tattoo artist Mary Anne Baker.

Five years ago, she saw that there was a need for tattoo artists offering restoration tattoos to breast cancer survivors.

"I'm a bit of an artist, so I took my permanent makeup tattooing, combined it with my artistry, and do beautiful 3-D nipples," said Baker.

She teams with East Valley reconstructive surgeon Dr. Emese Kalnoki-Kis to offer a special 3-D tattoo technique to create more realistic looking breasts for the patient.

"We spend time with the patients and draw (the nipples) on," Baker said. "The patient gets to have a part in the placement, and the size, and the shape.

"All of those things are very individual and very personal. When they look in the mirror, I want them to see as close a resemblance as possible to where they were before cancer."

The procedure is done in about two hours, with a follow up visit in about six weeks. It costs $400, and is covered by many insurance companies.

Baker has heard of only one other tattoo artist in the country doing the 3-D reconstructive method, and that person is in New York. She said that there are other valley artists doing breast reconstruction tattoos, but not with the 3-D method that she has become known for. She says she has had many patients come to her to repair mistakes that were done by other artists.

"If it looks like a pepperoni was tattooed on to your chest, that is not 3-Dl nipple tattooing," Baker said. "It's just not."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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