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Perceived influence of psychological consultation on psychological well‐being, body image, and intimacy following bilateral prophylactic mastectomy: A qualitative analysis

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Published online on


Objective This study explored whether psychological consultation offered to women prior to bilateral prophylactic mastectomy (BPM) appeared to provide psychosocial benefit to younger women (<35 years) at high risk of developing breast cancer due to a mutation or family history. Methods Qualitative interviews guided by interpretative phenomenological analysis were conducted retrospectively with 26 women who had undergone BPM. Participants were recruited from New Zealand and Australia, via a genetics clinic, registry, research cohort, and online. Results Three themes were identified: psychological well‐being and adjustment, satisfaction with intimacy, and body image. Participants that had seen a psychologist reported being more prepared for BPM and appeared to adjust positively post‐surgery. They appeared to have improved psychological well‐being, reported satisfaction with intimacy, and a more positive body image, compared with those who had no support. Conclusions Women who undergo psychological consultation prior to BPM appear to adjust positively after surgery. Implications for practice include standard psychological consultation for younger women (>35 years) considering BPM.