Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mr Bellringer How Dare You!!!!

Sometimes I ask myself why people even bother sharing their opinion on national television, especially on such a sensitive subject such as cancer. A friend mentioned a program called ‘My Transsexual Summer’ and how she was extremely angry with a statement a plastic surgeon had made.

Quote from Gender Reassignment Surgeon James Bellringer at Charing Cross:

‘We often get criticised why are we doing this operation which is cosmetic not life saving. But actually if you look at it as terms of quality of life we probably have the best operation there is.’

‘These patients before the operation are miserable, so an operation which theoretically cost £10,000 is delivering forty years of very much improved quality of life. There is no cancer operation that delivers that much.’

Mr Bellringer how dare you compare transgender and cancer patients by using survival statistics and cost. I had my mastectomy on Riverside wing at Charing Cross and whilst I sympathise with what transgender patients have to go through you cannot compare the realities of the two. My journey with cancer has left its scars both physically and mentally. I did not ask for cancer, just like your £10,000 a pop transgender patients did not ask to be one sex or the other. Your arrogant remark has yet deepened an already sensitive subject, especially when the NHS is already questioning whether certain medications should be used due to cost mounting on cancer treatment.

At first I thought maybe my friend might have heard wrong, but after watching this program myself I can see how the isms of cancer have struck again and created controversy.

I cannot believe the audacity of this a so called surgeon insinuating on national television that cancer life saving treatment is wasted money and then hides behind quality of life to validate that point. He is not an oncologist, but a urological surgeon and what would he know. I am personally saddened by this surgeon’s total disregard of what this surgery really means to a cancer patient. After all it affects 1-3 in a lifetime and you cannot pick who it will strike. And I know damn well the finger was pointing towards breast cancer because he is a plastic surgeon.

Mr Bellringer makes his appearance 42 minutes into the episode.

About Mr James Bellringer

An apology is needed MR JAMES BELLRINGER!!!!!!


  1. I think you miss the point entirely here, I found this while googling about for that very quote.

    He's not saying that cancer surgery is wasted money, he's just saying that transgender surgery is extremely good value for money. Cancer surgery doesn't always work, I know this as I lost my mother after several attempts to remove her cancer. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing the surgery.

    1. I have not missed the point at all... but to compare cancer and transgender surgery is wrong.. cancer patients are already being refused meds because of our so called survival rates.. to add his voice too the so called debate of value on recon surgery is to me wrong..

  2. Mr. Bellringer's stance was that of quality of life improvement, not that of survival.

    The gender reassignment surgery he specializes in entirely lifts an overwhelming dysphoria in many transgender patients. It allows the quality of life to go from, as he says, misery to a more progressive outlook in which one can live a comfortable, and meaningful life.

    Cancer surgery, however, does not tend to entail the same emotions. The treatment is gruelling, both emotionally and physically, but the outcome is always in a sense of vigilance. A cancer sufferer doesn't go from being ridden with pain to being free of all of their concern within the surgery.

    The argument from the quality of life standpoint is quite simply that for many patients with cancer, their life quality isn't improved an awful lot, because of the rigorous surgery they have to face, and because of the uncertain prospects.

    I was in the same hospital, a month ago. I had gender reassignment surgery, a lady in the bed next to me had breast cancer. She was fantastic to the transgender patients, openly discussing what she'd gone through, what her prospects are and what she wants from life. She was shocked, watching the pain we went through in something that was considered elective, simply in results of an underlying dysphoria. I told her that we were "just having our benign tumours removed.". She was amused, and told me that she entirely respected what we faced, and wished us all good recovery before she left.

    When she left that hospital, she was WORSE than when she started. She was ill, facing chemo, and on enough pills to drug up an entire nursing home. Wouldn't it have been nice if she had the ability to go through a surgery that allowed her to leave worry free and able to move on with her life? Because that's what we've been given, and Mr Bellringer's (who, by the way, is a urological surgeon, not a 'plastic surgeon' as you put it) gripe with the medical community is quite simply that people deem this an unnecessary surgery, which despite being relatively inexpensive for its' complexity, is hounded as a 'choice', and treated as unnecessary, despite offering such astronomical benefits to the recipients.

    I think you should re-establish your viewpoint on this. He offers a service to hundreds of patients that brings a quality of life beyond the vast majority of operations.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I was also on a ward with transgender patients back in 2009. (The Riverside wing at Charing Cross) There was a transgender adviser there who herself had gone from male to female. And during my five days educated me and the ism’s they face. Amy as I will call her thought that breast cancer patients and transgender should not be mixing on the same ward. For the two are totally different and require specific emotional needs.

      To compare breast cancer survival and transgender is wrong without a doubt.

      How many transgender do you know that have continued to take their lives after surgery? How many have decided that they have made the wrong decision? I saw two on riverside wing, but does that mean their experience should be used for every transgender?

      This is my viewpoint…
      Breast cancer patients both male and female face the same ism within the medical community as transgender patients. i.e. is this a waste of NHS money. The majority of transgender prefer to go private because they are left waiting and going from one appointment to another, this same behaviour breast cancer women face when wanting reconstruction. If you are below forty you get your recon done without questions, over forty and you have to wait two years or more.

      I have watched so many people be denied medical help on grounds it is too expensive or would only offer 3 months of life and have to fight for it.
      I do not deny that Mr Bellringer has done the transgender community a brilliant service, but he is paid well to provide that service. A transgender patient holds pounds signs just like a cancer patient, so let’s not kid ourselves here. And that is where the comparison ends…
      To sum my reply up our desperation lines their pockets. It costs the NHS over £40’000 pounds to give me Herceptin for a year. Lord knows how much I have cost the NHS over the past four years. From listening to Mr Bellringer that money may have been wasted because cancer has no cure. Well I’d love for Mr Bellringer to meet my family and explain himself because in the medical oath he took everyone deserves a kick at life. And like you said he’s a urologist, not a plastic surgeon, and certainly not an oncologist thank goodness.

      Sarah M