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Breast Gowns

79 REPLIES 79
dee49
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Ladies

Had my treatment at The Rosemere Centre at RPH.

I used to wear a strappy top under my blouse and walk to the table with the straps off my shoulders; then I'd pull the top down to my waist once on the table - I found it more 'dignified' than the piece of paper I was given to cover up! but they do cover up your exposed side once you're in position..... (with paper...).

The staff were fab there too - and yes there are men there, but I really didn't have a problem with that and didn't feel uncomfortable at all; in fact I think they asked me if I minded being treated by male staff if I recall.... but anyway as I said it wasn't a problem to me. And they talked to you so you felt like a human being!

All in all I found the experience boring and would advise anybody to take a book or an ipod - I used to go alone so these were essential items to me and they got me through the long waiting times......

Fulham
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hello ladies, finished 15 sessions of rads at Royal Marsden London just over a week ago. They had curtained off area in treatment room where you undress and put on ordinary gown for walk to table, boob only exposed during the lining up process. There were lots of men being treated, and some for prostate cancer so I decided that the high ratio of female radiographers was actually a bonus for us ladies - the men would usually be exposing their nether regions to young women so a couple of male staff did not seem so bad.

Staff at R Marsden were excellent - very considerate and made me feel comfortable and like an individual.

Best wishes to you all

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi
In Coventry we sit in a waiting area and get called to whatever machine we are on. Undress in curtained cubicle and wander semi naked to table. I must admit I was a little taken aback when I first saw a male radiographer but after a while I didn't notice it. I can fully understand that some ladies might feel uncomfortable. I really like the cape idea
X Sarah

Darbydarbs
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hello ladies,
I am very lucky at NNUH (Norwich) the Colney Centre is tip top, once you are called through, you are required to change into a gown and then wait in a very pleasant area and then called in to the treatment room. The staff, some of whom are men are lovely and very professional, it's quite surreal having a conversation with a bloke naked from the waist up, but hey they are young and we do need some perks to raise our spirits from tedium of visiting a hospital every day!!!

My top tip don't take it all too serious, they see all sorts every day.

I have the champers in the fridge ready for the 31st of Jan to celebrate the end of the trips.

DD

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

The one that really got to me at the Christie was the radiographer who chewed gum over me the whole time she was getting me into position. Disgusting!

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

hi everyone.New to this but wanted to share my experience. I had my planning for rads at Manchester Christie & was very upset during procedure. A Female member of staff made me very uncomfortable with her attitue. I was made to feel like I was on a conveyor belt!! Needless to say I didn't want to have my treatment there in case I had to endure her again. I ended up having my treatment at the new Christie site in salford. What a difference!!! The staff were amazing and made me feel very comfortable. Sounds much like the Oldham site. It was nice to be treated as an individual. This whole situation is hard enough without having to put up with rude & uncaring staff.

Guest user
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Re: Breast Gowns

Just to even the balance, can I add that I have had radiotherapy at the Christie main site in Manchester several times - for primary bc in early 2009 and for mets since then, and have never felt uncomfortable, ignored or degraded - all the staff, whether male or female, have been lovely. My only dissatisfaction has been with waiting times.

Jx

ethlydsyl
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

yeah-i've also heard the victoria breast unit at oldham is good too.

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi ethlydsyl
Interesting that you are at the Christie in Oldham and finding it OK - I was at the Christie in Manchester and was not at all impressed. I've seen a number of ladies posting on here saying how good the Oldham satellite is, perhaps they should feed some advice back to the central set up on how to be nice to patients.

ethlydsyl
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

oh-sorry sarah-that's really rotten-i am at the christie at oldham and it's fine-hope you are ok -stella

chrissy16
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Alto,

No I did not go to Addenbrookes, I am in Nottingham and I had my rads at Nottingham City Hospital. x

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

I found the whole rads process mentally very difficult, although physically it was easy. It was the dehumanising "meat on a slab" approach by the staff that got to me. They pushed and pulled me around to get me into position, rarely talked to me, chewed gum over me, some chatted in the background whilst I was being put in position. I felt there was no thought given to me the patient as a human being. Awful.
Sarah x

Alto
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Oh yes Tina, I agree. I really don't see that there's ever a need to at least not offer a screen.

I think objecting to having a male radiographer at all as some have done though is asking too much.

It boils down to them (whether they're male or female) having a certain amount of respect for your dignity - or at least what's left of it as by now some of us don't have very much left!!

Jane xxx

Tiny_Tina
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

don't have a problem being treated by male members of staff. But having them present when you undress makes me feel more uncomfortable. When you are seeing consultants etc.(male or female) you undress behind a screen and put on your gown.

Tina
x

Alto
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

My experience was the same as yours Chrissy16 - did you go to Addenbrookes?

I was very happy with the way I was treated and have no issue with men doing it - after all, it's just another doctor-patient relationship and most of us will already have had either a male surgeon or onc or both.

Jane xxx

ethlydsyl
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

i had my planning at the christie in manchester last week and was treated with the upmost respect-had my first appt at the christie unit at oldham today-receptionist fab-given all appts on a print out-told if any unsuitable can be changed with no prob-given a code for free parking space-everything explained by a really cute radiologist-called into a cubicle-given my own gown to keep during the 15 sessions-taken into the treatment room-helped onto table-only then was gown opened slightly to allow the treatment-all over and done with very quickly-at no time felt embarrassed or uncomfortable-hope this helps someone x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi

I didn't have a gown as none in my size at the time. Anyway it didn't bother me as you got changed in a curtained area of the treatment room itself with only the 2 radiographers present. Only a very short distance to treatment table.

Some ladies did have a gown which was a bit like a waistcoat with poppers on for you to uncover the relevant boob. They had to be ready changed into it & sat in the general waiting room. I prefered to wear easy to remove tops which I could just whipp off when I needed.

I never felt exposed or vulnerable personally but so used to whipping my bazookas out (well they did say they were trainee's - on the day surgery ward at my second WLE!) to anyone who said they needed to exam them I lost all sense of inhibition.

I always felt they respected me; were only doing their job & didn't view me as anything except as a patient who needed care; I couldn't fault them for the efforts they made on my behalf. Mainly lady radiographers but a couple of blokes who were just as nice. One of them did put a bit of blue paper over me once then he walked past & draft blew it on the floor; he was more concerned than I was. Problem was I started to giggle & they had to re-position me. No more blue paper for me.

Take care for all of you having your rads & if not happy with gown how about asking to wear your own wrap-a-round top (if you have one) which could be used. As long as no metal fastnings it may be OK, but do check first.

chrissy16
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi

We had changing rooms as well, with a door with a lock on it,, thank God. We changed into the gown (only top half) and then went back to the waiting area to be called in. The gowns had velcro on the shoulders and were pulled apart where and when needed to expose the affected boob. I had a couple of young guys treat me as well, but I was not bothered by them, why should I be? They have a job to do. They were all very kind and always helped me up from the table afterwards and do up my gown at the shoulder as this is hard to do yourself. At the end of my treatment I bought them all cakes as a token of my appreciation. x

oldandlumpy
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

I am lucky, we get changed in cubicals, sit in a small area away from main waiting room and then pull gown down when on bed. I have never gone topless, but it does not realy bother me, even with the male nurses. I think it would bother me to get undressed and dressed in front of people though

Tiny_Tina
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

ibroxeagle,

Great hospital, great treatment but unfortunately they don't consider the dignity of the patient when having rads. Two or three members of staff hanging around, sometimes one male and you have to strip off. I suppose really we should write to them, I know there are a lot of other women feel the same.

Tina

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

The main thing I objected to was changing into a breast gown and then having to go back and sit in the main waiting room. If we'd gone into a waiting area just for patients immediately before treatment that would have been much better.
Sarah x

sheil
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

ibroxeagle
Even without your name I'd guess Beatson??
S

DJ007
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

At my hosp they no longer have any sort of breast gowns at all! you have to take in your own dressing gown.

You get called from main waiting area, get changed, go to a smaller waiting area just outside treatment room, get called in, then strip off and walk over to table. No bits of paper either.

They do line you up with the tattoo that's been done on the 'good' side, so I don't know how keeping one half covered would work. Despite never having been a topless sunbather (at least in public) this doesn't bother me - and if they are seeing one boob, why not the other as well!

Dx

21210
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

ibroxeagle, this was exactly how i felt, so much so that i actually dreaded going for my Rads but after writing on here i took advice from others & complained the result being that i was treated totally differently from then on & issued with a proper breast gown that was mine to keep through treatment.

Sarah.xx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Im in the midst of radiotherapy for BC and i have been given nothing more than a piece of kitchen towel to cover my decency. My entire treatment i have felt like a piece of meat and a number at the end of the day im still a person

21210
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Thank you for bumping for me Cheshire Cheese.xxx

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

As they (Christie Hospital) explained it to me, they developed the "breast gowns" in response to people feeling uncomfortable about being fully exposed. Fair enough, but then they turned that round into something that everyone MUST wear whether they wanted to or not. Until I said no. Then they said it was more convenient for them and I thought oh yes, now we're getting to the truth of the matter!

The justification they then gave was that it means they don't have to wait around for elderly ladies to peel off six layers of clothing and then put them all back on again afterwards. So much for it being for the benefit of the patients.

Sarah x

Alto
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

As I've already said on the other thread I used a "breast gown" at Addenbrooke's (this is the first time I've heard them called that!). Once changed I sat in a small inner waiting area where there were only a few people waiting - no friends and hangers on.

I had no objection at all to wearing this gown - better that than nothing! Also, they weren't just used for BC patients. I chatted to a lady wearing one who was having rads for lung cancer and another as well (don't know what she had but it wasn't BC), so they didn't scream "breast cancer" to me! They seem to use them for anyone having rads to their torso.

I think it's a really great that they've listened to people's feelings and developed these gowns in response. However, I also feel that it's important that if you don't want to wear one, you certainly shouldn't have to, as long as it doesn't affect the treatment or cause hold-ups.

There was at least one woman with BC having rads with me who didn't use one but she wore little camisole tops, quick to whip off. I always wore a bra and was far happier changing in private - much more dignified, I felt.

Jane xxx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Im being treated at Colchester & we are provided with cotton gowns waste length poppers down middle & to the shoulders so only the area being treated is exposed. You go from main waiting room to get changed in a cubicle then you sit in smaller waiting area but partners are welcome in this area too but these gowns don't expose you at all & mine swamps me lol

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Bumping up for Sarah (021210)

swallowtail
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Amanda I started my rads yesterday at St James and agree it is a good way of doing it,I would not like to sit in the waiting room in a gown,
Celia

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi everyone

I am being treated in St James Hosital Leeds. I get changed into a hosital gown in a little room right next to the treatment room. As this is an internal room you don't have to go through the waiting room whilst in the gown. Once on the bed I just take my right arm out of the sleeve and leave everything else covered up. I feel they have a good set up at Leeds and just presumed it was the same at all the hospitals.

Amanda xx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Thank you, it seems to me that everyone is uncovered for treatment - I am still being covered when they have finished the marking up and leaving the room for treatment. However, I am getting quite red now so I know that it is getting through!
It is very kind of them to think about my dignity and modesty, I just find it funny (ha ha) that they cover me up when they leave the room!
The last two sessions I've had two male radiographers, but they are so lovely I don't feel too embarrassed.

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi misscally
Bumped this up so you can see all the earlier comments.
Sarah x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Kiti,
I am on day 11 of 15 rads and on the first day they gave me the usual gown which I put on back to front, like I did when I was having my ops. They politely asked me to put on like a coat, which I did and my right breast was exposed! Great! A lovely male radiographer said best to bring my own dressing gown as their gowns were not that good, so I have been taking my own since day 2 and don't feel at all out of place in the waiting room; we are all wearing our own (except for the new people, who haven't been told yet).
I just slip my arm out before the treatment and slip it back in when it's all over. I had no idea what a breast gown was until I read the forums.
I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you took your own
xxx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Cheshire Cheese wish you could email me your gown! Had a male radiographer the other day and nearly died when he started rubbing his hands together to warm them up before marking me with the pen! He was very nice and professional and I pretended to be relaxed. I thought if an older lady had the same radiographer she would be even more embarassed. When I spoke to an older lady the next day she said she was embarassed too, she was a retired nurse and said we should have been asked first. Anyone else been in this position? Not that it matters really as long as we get the treatment but wouldn't have been so embarassed if we had gowns. Not brave enough thought to ask why we get the blue paper towel and not a gown!

Worse to come though - they weighed me today 😞 told them NOT to tell me as put loads of weight on! Anyone else get weighed?

Kiti xxx

Kiti xxx

juliebtaurus
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi iam onto my 8th Rads and i was given a tabbard-like top with velcro flaps that peel down only to show the breast that is treated it was given to me at planning session and is mine to take home after every session untill Rads finished.I must also say that the 2 female radiographers alway make sure im covered over and my dignity intact before any of the male staff come into the room ( i always think ah bless them whenever she covers me up )i feel much less exposed and vunerable. its a shame we dont all have the same experience you suggest what people have in other areas and it might not happen for you but future patients may not have to feel that way and have the same awful experience , xxx Julie

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

I thought the gowns were a great idea.

The rads waiting room was always very friendly and mainly full of old people. It never occurred to me to feel uncomforatble about it.

moorcow
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

HI, where I had my treatment they gave you a kind of sleeveless v necked garment that went to below hips, had velcro at tops and sides and was of good firm material so you felt properly covered up - you kept it with you for time of treatment and it made me feel fine about the very small amount of "being seen in public" that happened between changing and treatment etc.
You should ask for better.

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Bump
Anyone else got opinions on this?

Lazydaisy1
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Heavens how I hated those gowns - nothing seemed to fit and the velcro was very sore on my skin and scar tissue so like Ann I wore a camisole and also a poncho when waiting in the waiting room - Like you I disliked 'baring all' to male radiographers but I have to say they where very professional and caring so have no right to complain. I'd forgotten about these trials and tribulations ..... suppose thats a good thing.!!

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

On the first day of my rads, they had run out of clean hospital gowns and so gave me a sheet paper, the sort that they put on an examination bed, to hold over myself when I walked across the room. After that, no-one gave me anything, so I wore a camisole top, no bra, and just slipped down the straps at the appropriate time. Maybe you would prefer that, Kiti. To be honest, it was better than having to change into a gown and wait in the waiting room like that.
Ann x

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Kiti
It just shows we're all different - if I could post you my breast gown I would, but I've just handed it back at the end of my treatment, hardly having been worn!
I too have a large tummy bulging at the top of my trousers (unfortunately in my case I can't blame it on BC, tamoxifen or anything other than enjoying my food too much) but don't worry about what it looks like to the staff since I'm sure they see much worse sights on a daily basis.
Sarah x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi All, not posted for months but just started radiotherapy at Clatterbridge. Having 3rd one today. Not offered gown and get changed in cubicle in treatment room. Am trying to get used to walking to table topless but feel uncomfortable. I feel self-conscious because I have put on loads of weight so have big tummy bulging out of top of trousers! Does anyone else worry about this? The staff are lovely and put a piece of paper towel over me but I would much rather prefer a gown. When I went for planning day there was a young male radiographer which surprised me and I felt even more self-conscious although I know they are very professional and have seen lots of boobs! We feel so vulnerable after all we have gone through and I think we should have the choice. Although I have got used to showing my breast to so many medical staff I still feel uncomfortable. I would not want to wait in a clinic wearing one as I agree it is labelling you as a cancer patient. So you are lucky ladies if you have a gown!

Love Kiti x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Breast Gowns

Hilarious Cheshire Cheese lol!!!!

In Belfast we get a gown to put on for the walking to the machine which is in the treatment room itself and just a few feet from the curtained area. But by this stage my boobs mean nothing to me, don't even feel part of me any more, so I don't really care what they look like, and know that the radiographers care even less. So I do put on the cape but only because they give it to me, don't both with the curtain either. In the machine, both arms are in stirrups and the gown pulled right back until position achieved, then it is folded over the left side. I'm happy enough with this. We get the same gowns in the breast screening suite, but would not be happy waiting either in a general waiting area in it, or far worse, being expected to go and see the consultant for the first time in it. That's not nice.

swallowtail
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Maria thanks for that good to know what to expect,
Celia.x

Maria2710
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Hi Celia

I had my rads at Jimmy's nearly 2 years ago, they have normal hospital gowns and you changed in the changing room which has 2 doors one into the waiting room and the other through into the treatment room, your name will be called and they take you into the changing room lock the door from the waiting room so no one can get in, you get changed and wait until they come to get you, you can leave all your stuff in the changing room it is very safe. They have 2 changing rooms on the go at the same time so as one person has finished and getting changed the next person is already changed and ready for their go.

Hope this helps and good luck with your treatment.

Maria

swallowtail
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Any one had radio at St James Leeds just wondering they do re gowns and changing there I will be going sometime in October.
Celia.x

CheshireCheese
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

Just a thought, but if there was a male equivalent garb for those being treated for, say, testicular cancer, would they be expected to wear a ball gown?

tors
Member

Re: Breast Gowns

i better had be! I had a reaction to my first taxotere, yuk, horrid. What was yours to? Pm me who your consultant is at christie, might be same as mine?