Anyone been forced to have Counselling?

Hi there,
another one of my questions!!
Has anyone been told they have to have counselling before having a risk reducing/prophylactic second mastectomy? if so, did you go and did you feel if you refused to go that they wouldnt operate?

Hi Clarabelle,

mine was not a prophylactic mastectomy but in 1999 I had a new primary in the remaining breast. The surgeon was only going to remove the tumour and when I said I wanted a mastectomy he said it probably wasnt necessary. I was not happy with this situation because of previous problems I had experienced. Like most folk I didnt have the courage to disagree with him at that point but I went home and spoke to a breast helpline and talked it thru and they thought i was right and encouraged me to pursue it. So I contacted the breastcare nurse and she spoke to the surgeon. I was told I had to come in the following day to see the psychologist to discuss. She was quite surprised I had been asked to see her as she felt I had all the right reasons for requesting a full mastectomy. Not quite the same as your situation I know. I wouldn’t be anxious about this at all but be prepared - think thru your reasons for your request.



I had my second mastectomy, which was prophylactic, in January this year. I spoke about it to my consultant at the Marsden and she agreed with my reasons for wanting it and referred me back to my original bc consultant and plastic surgeon in Norwich. I saw them in November last year and they also agreed that it was right for me. Counselling was never mentioned and if I had been offered it I would have turned it down - I was absolutely convinced it was the right decision for me and it has turned out to be so. I am so much more relaxed and happy these days, friends and family have remarked on it - in fact I didn’t realise how much the fear of a new primary was affecting me until after I had recovered from the op.

As Dawn says, think through your reasons - I had and almost gave a speech!!

Best wishes,

Sally x

Hi, I have very good reasons which my BC nurse agrees with and have also been back to see my Plastic Surgeon and Breast Consultant at a joint meeting and both have agreed to do their bit as it were and think its the right thing to do. However, hospital policy apparently is that you have to see a psychologist first which was fine by me up until I went yesterday to see him. He said he needed to know who ‘I’ was and went on for just over an hour asking husbands name, job, about our relationship, his age, his family, then the same for our kids, then my family, parents, brothers, sisters names ages etc then their childrens names ages etc what I thought about my primary school, then secondary school then the jobs I had done then how I felt when my parents split up etc etc you get the picture! what on earth has any of that got to do with him - should he not have been asking about my diagnosis and my descision and reasons for wanting another mastectomy? He ended by saying it would be a course of up to 6 sessions and that he would see me again in 2 weeks - no chance!
As part of my treatment I had my ovaries removed and didnt need counselling for that even though the impact of that op is way greater to a woman than a mastectomy surely? - unable to have any more children, instant menopause and all that brings! Grrrrr I am livid and will be writing a letter of complaint - the world has gone mad!

I had a mastectomy in 2004 after BC diagnosis. I was so relieved that my diseased breast had gone! I then requested my ovaries be removed( my BC nurse was horrified) but insisted on a gynae referral- had a lovely gynae dr who said absolutely yes, completely right decision and again, huge relief for me- I simply saw it as a process (menopause) that I would have to go through anyway, just a bit earlier than expected! Following this, I decided that I would only be completely reassurred if I had a prophylactic MX on the other side. My BC nurse again was horrified, but I knew thats what I wanted. My consultant could see I’d made my mind up and referred me to PS for MX and bilateral recon with implants. He actually said to me just before I had the anaesthetic “by the way, you’re doing the right thing”. I did not have to go through counselling- I felt the worry of developing BC on the other side outweighed the "appearance " I would have to deal with afterwards. The relief was huge - gone!! You will know deep down if you are doing the right thing- the counselling should be there to help you deal with your body image following the surgery.
I wish you luck with it all,

Clarabelle - I would be as angry as you are. If I were you I would demand a referral to another hospital and another medical team.

Well, I complained to my BC nurse who said that the questions he had asked were totally inapropriate and that she would have a word. I then spoke to the counsellors boss who tried to tell me that the questions asked were in his view ok - to which I told him in no uncertain terms that they were not! Upshot was, one more session where the counsellor said he was sorry he made me feel the way he did and no more prying questions followed by a letter to the surgeon agreeing that I knew what I wanted and giving the ok for the op to go ahead!!
Clarabelle x

Hi Clarabelle,

Glad you stood up for yourself and made it know just how ridiculous the whole procedure was!


Well done Clarabelle!