Dr Sue Gessler

Dr Sue GesslerTel: 020 3447 8636
Fax: 020 3447 9883
Email: sue.gessler@nhs.net

University College Hospital; UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre

Gynaecological oncology

Professional background

Dr Gessler is Consultant Clinical Psychologist at UCLH, Honorary Senior Lecturer in the UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Department of Women’s Cancer, Institute for Women's Health and currently Psychology Lead for the North London Cancer Network. Her clinical training was at St George’s Hospital, Tooting/University of Surrey and she was awarded her PhD from King’s College London. During and after her PhD, she worked clinically in the department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College Hospital/Institute of Psychiatry. She then joined the clinical health psychology department at UCLH and was appointed consultant in 2003.

She specialises in psychological responses to physical illness and trauma, particularly in gynaecological cancer: and psychological responses in the individual and their family faced with genetic susceptibility to cancer. A nationally recognised facilitator for Advanced Communications Skills Training for clinicians since 2005, she runs courses for senior clinicians in cancer and is developing intermediate training courses for practitioners in other branches of medicine with challenging communications issues.
She employs a wide range of therapeutic techniques, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic approaches, using group and individual therapy. She has a formal training in brief dynamic therapy (Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy, IAPT recognised).

Special interests:

  • Decision-making about complex decisions including prophylactic surgery
  • Helping adjustment to trauma of life-threatening disease and treatment for patients and families
  • Sexuality after cancer treatment
  • Anxiety -management during cancer treatment and its attendant investigations
  • Communications skills training

Research interests

  • Psychological assessment of distress
  • Post-traumatic psychological symptoms in cancer survivors
  • Peer support
  • Low intensity interventions for cancer survivors
  • Psychological aspects of genetic cancer prediction through population screening


Amanda C de C Williams, Jenna Morris, Kate Stevens, Sue Gessler, Matteo Cella, Jacqueline Baxter What influences midwives in estimating labour pain?

European Journal of Pain 2012 accepted for publication

Gessler, Sue.(April 2012) To the newly diagnosed: a psychological view. In Gemma Levine (ed) Go with the flow.  Quartet Books.

Pistrang, N. E., Jay, Z., Gessler, S., & Barker, C. (2012). Telephone peer support for women with gynaecological cancer: Benefits and challenges for supporters. Psycho-Oncology.

Lanceley, A., Eagle, Z., Ogden, G., Gessler, S., Razvi, K., Ledermann, J. A., . . . Side, L. (2012, February). Family history and women with ovarian cancer: is it asked and does it matter?: An observational study.. Int J Gynecol Cancer, 22(2), 254-259. doi:10.1097/IGC.0b013e3182392714

Manchanda, R., Burnell, M., Abdelraheim, A., Johnson, M., Sharma, A., Benjamin, E Brunell C, Saridogan E, Gessler S, Oram D,. Menon, U. (2012). Factors influencing uptake and timing of risk reducing salpingo- oophorectomy in women at risk of familial ovarian cancer: A competing risk time to event analysis. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 119(5), 527-536. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2011.03257.x

Pistrang, N., Jay, Z., Gessler, S., & Barker, C. (2011). Telephone peer support for women with gynaecological cancer: Recipients’ perspectives. Psycho-Oncology. doi:10.1002/pon.2005

Balogun, N., Gentry-Maharaj, A., Wozniak, E. L., Lim, A., Ryan, A., Ramus, S. J. Ford J, Burnell M, Widschwendter M, Gessler SF,, . . . Menon, U. (2011, May). Recruitment of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients proved challenging in a multicentre biobanking study.. J Clin Epidemiol, 64(5), 525-530. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2010.07.008

Manchanda, R., Abdelraheim, A., Johnson, M., Rosenthal, A. N., Benjamin, E., Brunell, C., Burnell M, Side L, Gessler S, Saridogan E, . . . Menon, U. (2011, June). Outcome of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy in BRCA carriers and women of unknown mutation status.. BJOG, 118(7), 814-824. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2011.02920.x

Amanda C. de C. Williams and Sue Gessler. . (2010). Empathy in Cancer Pain In J. A. Paice, M. D. P. D. Rae F Bell, M. D. Eija A Kalso, & O. A. Soyannwo (Eds.), Cancer Pain: from molecules to suffering (pp. 354 pages). Intl Assn for the Study of Pain.

Low, J., Gessler, S., Williams, R., Daniells, E., Brough, V., Tookman, A., . . . Jones, L. (2009, August). Screening for distress and depression in cancer patients: is ultrashort depression screening a valid measure in the UK? A prospective validation study.. J Pain Symptom Manage, 38(2), 234-243. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.08.006

Gessler, S., Low, J., Daniells, E., Williams, R., Brough, V., Tookman, A., . . . Jones, L. (2008, June). Screening for distress in cancer patients: is the distress thermometer a valid measure in the UK and does it measure change over time? A prospective validation study.. Psychooncology, 17(6), 538-547. doi:10.1002/pon.1273

Pistrang, N., Jay, Z., Gessler, S., & Barker, C. (2007). Women Helping Women: Peer support in gynaecological cancer. In 9th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology. London.

Gessler, S. F., Lowe, J., Daniells, E., Jones, L., & Tookman, A. (2006, October). UK validation of the distress thermometer. PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY, 15, S107.

Patel, M., Weinman, J., & Gessler, S. (1995). Type A behaviour and the perception of facially expressed affect. Personality and Individual Differences, 18(6), 809-811.

Gessler, S. F., Cutting, J., Frith, C. D., & Weinman, J. (1989, February). Schizophrenic inability to judge facial emotion: a controlled study. British Journal Clinical Psychology, 28(1), 19-29. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8260.1989.tb00808.x

GMC/GDC number: PYL05566 (HCPC)