Feeling violated

Hi everyone. I came here hoping someone can give me some advice, or even some words of comfort. Maybe my feelings on this are silly on the scale of things. I’m sorry if I have posted this in the wrong section, I am new to the site and wasnt sure where to post this.


I had a bilateral mastectomy last month due to invasive ductal cancer, followed by an immediate reconstruction. Emotionally I was handling everything rather well. I have been having regular check-ups with the breast surgeon due to my wound getting slightly infected. There have been days my breast surgeon has been unable to see me as he has been called away on emergencies so I have seen another breast surgeon. I was fine with this.


Recently I have been feeling extremely violated by the amount of men touching my breasts. I can no longer look my breast surgeon (or his replacement, or my oncologist) in the eye. I spend my appointments looking at the floor trying so hard not to cry. My husband noticed this at my last appointment but I made up some excuse about needing to sneeze as to why my eyes looked red and watery. 


I’m due to see the breast surgeon again on Monday and I want to cancel. I cant keep going through feeling like this every time I’m asked to take off my clothes for them to touch and stare at my breasts. It’s making me feel dirty. Deep down I know they need to do the things they do to make sure I’m healing and to check everything is ok. These men are part of a team that are keeping me alive. They removed the cancer. I should be thanking them, not feeling disgusted by them touching and staring at me. Why am I feeling like this? Is it normal?


I cannot tell them how I feel. I would feel more awkward telling them how I feel. I also haven’t seen my BCN since the day of my operation (they always seem too busy with other ladies when I am there).



Hi Stumble,

Welcome to the BCC discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good, honest support from the many informed users of this site who I am sure will be along soon to offer you some much needed support.  Also could I suggest you give our helpline team a ring when lines open again tomorrow (Monday) and have  chat with them, they’re here to offer both emotional and practical support.  Calls are free 0808 800 6000 lines open weekdays 9-5 and Sat 10-2.

Take care,

Jo, Moderator

Hi Stumble


I can really relate to how you are feeling.  Each time I am prodded and probed in these examinations, I have to have a kind of out of body experience, where I kind of detach myself from my body.  I don’t feel dirty as you have described, as I know that at the end of the day they are there to help me, but I do feel violated.


I think the thing I have an issue with is that as soon as I was diagnosed, the oncologist when straight into how little my breasts are, and “if you were a c cup, we could… but because you are an a cup we have to…” I’ve lost count of how many times he said it.  He even said it on the morning of my op - I just looked at him and shrugged my shoulders.  I’ve been laughing about it as it’s my way of dealing with it, but deep down, I do feel a kind of resentment.


Then when I went to see the surgeon on Friday, he asked me “do you have kids” “do you smoke” then, “what size are you”, to which I ansered “34a”, he then said “are you happy with that size, would you like to be bigger”, I let out a really shocked laugh and looked at my husband.  I really was not expecting that question.  I then had to strip off, as we do, for him to look at my patched up breast from the lumpectomy, I haven’t even let my husband look at it!!!  I felt really violated.


I’ve never had a problem with my little breasts, but now I’m starting to think that perhaps I should be bigger.  It is starting to leave a nasty taste in my mouth.


So, I personally think you are normal to feel this way - but - please don’t let it prevent you from seeing them because of it!!!  We have to let them do their prodding and make their insensitive comments in order to get rid of this.  They’ve been trained in medicine, so are obviously really clever and highly inteligent people, but they may not naturally be the most sensitive and empathetic people on the planet!   You know that you’re not dirty because of it, so just hold onto that.  You are doing what is necessary to rid yourself of this.  


H xx


Hi Stumble,

Just a thought. Did you feel like this before the mastectomy?  I’m wondering if you were ok with it before because you know they needed to do all this to ‘repair’ you.  Now, the job’s done (at least from a medical/physical aspect), I can understand that you may want to be left alone for a while.  I thought it a bit weird that my bcn told me to caress my new breast regularly, but I can now see that this is all part of acceptance.  Maybe the feelings you are experiencing are because you need time to get used to your new body and feel confident with it before putting it back on public display.  Maybe you should share your feelings with your bcn too before they get too set in as these nurses do seem to have answers to everything. Xx

And, by the way, Stumble, you are just as important as the other ladies, so don’t wait to see a bcn on the ‘off chance’, make an appointment so that you get some undivided attention with her where you can really share your deeper feelings. Xx

Yes, I agree with Hijaqs, make a specific appointment to see one of the breast care nurses.  This is just the sort of thing they are there for and they may well have some good advice to impart.