Breast Cancer News of Note: A Doctor’s Journey with Breast Cancer

August 24, 2023

Disclaimer statement: The information and resources contained within this document are for educational purposes only. Please make sure to discuss any resources with the Here for the Girls Team. This information should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in lieu of care from a licensed physician or mental health practitioner. Although the content of the resources has been reviewed by the Here for the Girls Team, you should use caution whenever accessing or referring to information from outside sources, including the Internet.

Trigger warning: We want to acknowledge that facing a cancer diagnosis, sharing with others, and even accessing support resources such as a group can trigger many thoughts and feelings, including those that are distressing. We want to remain supportive and sensitive to your individual journey and related needs. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like additional support or to discuss your experience during group.

From Diagnosing to Diagnosed: A Doctor’s Journey with Breast Cancer

Dr. Liz O’Riordan consistently told herself, “I’m a breast surgeon - I’m not going to get breast cancer” (O’Riordan & Williams, 2023). Then she found a lump in one of her breasts. After receiving an ultrasound on the lump, she immediately knew she would need chemotherapy and a mastectomy. She was treated at the hospital she worked, which made it challenging for her and her peers to be professional. She felt like she could feel the emotion in the operating room and was asking questions. Her colleague stopped her and said, “Be the patient” (O’Riordan & Williams, 2023). O’Ridian expressed how difficult this was for her. She was always the doctor, and she didn’t see the impact breast cancer had on her patients until she became the patient.

Redefining her Role in Life

O’Riordan decided she would change things within her practice. She no longer told clients they were lucky they caught it early. She said, “I used to say, ‘Don’t Google it.’ First thing I did? Google, middle of the night, metastatic cancer blogs” (O’Riordan & Williams, 2023). After O’Riordan returned to work, her cancer came back, and she had to retire. However, this didn’t stop her from helping people. She redefined her style by hosting talk shows, blogs and posting videos spreading breast cancer awareness and rediscovering yourself after diagnosis and treatment (O’Riordan & Williams, 2023). She even co-founded a book called “The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer.”

A Self-Care Guide: Redefining Your Style

Anna Crollman (2022) states that “breast cancer treatment can do a number on your body, your psyche, and your self-confidence.” Crollman said that she faced several challenges after treatment. More specifically, she faced challenges with her sense of self and body image. She found that her clothing didn’t fit in the same way and that it was incredibly challenging to find clothes that made her feel confident. However, she came up with a five-step solution to reclaim her body and redefine her style. “[1] Put away the clothes that don't fit,” says Crollman (2022), “one of the best things I did for myself during this time was to put my tight clothes away,” In order for your closet to be a safe place, hiding her clothing made it easier to stray away from triggering thoughts.

“[2] Make friends with a tailor,” Crollman (2022) states. Find someone you can trust who will help you change your clothes to fit your body and not your body to fit your clothes. Next, Crollman (2022) says, “[3] Be open to change… look at it as an opportunity to try something new.” By experimenting with a new style, you can learn to embrace change and redefine how you perceive things. She also notes that “[4] Comfort is key” (Crollman, 2022). She further expands by recommending brands that use softer, more gentle material. She even suggests investing in undershirts as a layer of protection under other clothing. Lastly, Crollman (2022) discloses her final step – “[5] Reflect and adapt.” There will be times when clothing won’t feel like you, and that’s okay. “Over time, you will learn from your experiences and begin to cultivate a style and wardrobe you really love” (Crollman, 2022).

A link to Dr. Liz O’Riordan’s videos can be found here. A link to her website can be found here

A link to Anna Crollman’s article can be found here.


Crollman, A. (2022). Breast Cancer Changed My Body, so I Redefined My Style.

O’Riordan, L., & WIlliams, R. (2023, July 24). The Breast Surgeon Who Had Breast Cancer: “I Used to Say, ‘Don’t google it.’ First thing I did? Google it.” The Guardian.



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