Celiawells, I'm gutted for you that this has happened, it is desperately unfair. I know some people don't seem bothered about being left with a significant difference, but I found it really upsetting.
When I was deciding on treatment options when I was first diagnosed, it was mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, or therapeutic mammoplasty, radiotherapy and symmetrising surgery six months later. It was part of the decision making process, there wasn't any doubt that I'd be left with a significant size difference. So it would be hard not to feel misled if they pulled the funding for the last part of the process.
What is the point in encouraging women to opt for breast conserving surgery if they aren't willing to fund the whole package? I very nearly opted for the mastectomy, it was only that my surgeon convinced me he could create a good shape on the operated side and would do a reduction to match things up on the other side that persuaded me.
I really hope you get your surgery, and am so so sorry that you've got to pay for it yourself.
Lucky you, I wish I lived your side of the county border! I can confirm what you say, sadly. My surgeon made an individual funding request to Taunton and Somerset CCG, with all the photographic evidence required, but it was rejected - twice now - on grounds this is considered a cosmetic procedure and is thus no longer funded. They just refer to the criteria in their standard breast asymmetry correction policy, ie the one covering surgery for women with large breasts seeking reduction in order to avoid problems like backache. I think it is wrong to apply this to women left with uneven breasts as a result of their cancer treatment, but what I think does not matter at all to anyone it seems. We are powerless. I phoned round the other hospitals I could have gone to for treatment, and the same refusal now applies in Yeovil and Bristol. A little while ago RUH Bath said they are still doing it - but did not know for how long. Bristol said it is a national policy change coming in that will affect all trusts eventually. However, at my recent radiotherapy review someone said she believes NICE are recommending this asymmetry correction surgery SHOULD be offered by local CCGs. But who knows what that may mean, and when. In the meantime I will have to pay for my surgery - my surgeon is trying to negotiate a discount for women like me. This is what we have come to with pressures on the NHS.
I'm in Dorset and due to have lift and reduction surgery to my good side on Friday. The surgeon told me they are still able to get funding in Dorset, but their partner hospital in Somerset has reclassified this as cosmetic and funding has been withdrawn, so I'm lucky to be on the right side of the postcode lottery. They took loads of photos which I thought was for the case conference. They said no surgery is done without the team assessing and approving it, possibly after the rogue surgeon who was doing unnecessary operations?
Anyway, I'm glad to be getting this done now as it seems funding may not always be available.
my understanding of the rules for funding of mammoplasty (breast reduction) is that the criteria varies from area to area. I can't vouch for Wales, but in England all areas will have a published list known as "procedures of limited clinical effectiveness". You should ask your GP to become acquainted to this list and if there is a restriction for mammoplasty related to BC you can apply under the "individual funding rules" from your local CCG, and whilst most criteria for acceptance/restriction may vary most will be similar but they do vary area to area.
My lumpectomy/radiotherpied breast is considerably smaller then the other, and my surgeon stated October last year she would offer this - that said I haven't checked if the criteria has changed since and at the moment I am not looking for surgery. Basically you need to check in your area.
Do you mind if I ask which country/area/health authority you are in? I'm interested because, as I have posted in another surgery forum, I have been told that surgery to correct uneven breasts following therapeutic mammoplasty (ie tumour removed via breast conserving reduction surgery) is no longer funded in Somerset, it's considered cosmetic. I am struggling to understand how it is offered to women post mastectomy but not post mammaplasty - it's all cancer surgery that leaves us lop sided!
Hi Welshdragon. I had a reduction and uplift in April to match my TUG reconstruction six months previous. I also had liposculpting to infill a dent. I was planning on taking 1 week off work in my job as a teaching assistant but ended up having 2 weeks off as that is what the hospital signed me off for. That being said I felt well enough to go back to work 9 days later. I did have a small area around the areola that took longer to heal but that was completely healed by 5 weeks. Didn't gave any drains and only needed 1 night in hospital.
I recently has mastectomy to left breast and am being offered a reduction in the right breast to match the left , once the left has settled down , in approximately six months . I had two drains in for nine days for the mastectomy , and was off work for eight weeks . I wondered if anyone has had a similar reduction and what the healing time was , and time off work etc . Any information or advice gratefully received . Thank you