Reconstruction/Non-reconstruction of breasts after mastectomy for breast cancer

Topic headline: Reconstruction/Non-reconstruction of breasts after mastectomy for breast cancer

Category: PhD research project

Institution: University of Derby

Department: Psychology

PhD supervisor: Dr Fiona Holland

Application deadline: Applications accepted all year round

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD student only

Project description

This project would be part of an on-going programme of research on the psychological outcomes of undergoing mastectomy (unilateral or bilateral) for breast cancer. The project could focus on womens’ decisions to undergo or not undergo breast reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer. A qualitative pilot project has been undertaken exploring younger womens’ experiences of not undergoing breast reconstruction and this has been received well by the academic and practitioner community. The proposed project might want to extend the current study with a view to including different types of women e.g. by age group, sexual orientation, ethnicity, relationship status.  In addition, there is also scope to develop the project as a mixed methods study. There is also the potential to design a project to incorporate the specific interests of the PhD student.

A successful applicant will join a thriving postgraduate community at the Kedleston Road site of the University of Derby, and will have a good (at least upper second) degree in psychology or a closely related subject, excellent research skills, and will be a well-organised, self-motivated researcher.  


Background research

Nicholson RM, Leinster S, Sassoon EM (2007) A comparison of the cosmetic and psychological outcome of breast reconstruction, breast conserving surgery and mastectomy without reconstruction. Breast, 16, 396–410.

 Rubin, L.R, Tannenbaum, M. (2011) “Does that make me a woman?” : Breast cancer, mastectomy and breast reconstruction decisions among sexual minority women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 35,401-414.


PhD study at the University of Derby

The University of Derby is pleased to welcome applications from self-funded or externally sponsored students for programmes of research in this or related areas, beginning from September 2012. Applications are welcome from students wishing to study full time or part time, and from students in employment who have the support of their employers.

The University of Derby provides PhD students with a range of facilities and support, including dedicated office space, PC and IT facilities, and library services, and all PhD students in Psychology are members of the Centre for Psychological Research, an active community of psychological researchers.

At the University of Derby, the Traditional Route PhD is taken by students who already have a Masters level qualification that includes research methods. Students without previous Masters level training in research methods take the New Route PhD, which includes training in research methods.

Have a look at the application process details and fee information.


Enquiry contact details

Dr Fiona Holland



Dr Stephanie Archer