by Liz O’Riordan MD, Cancer Survivor
As a breast surgeon, I was always vaguely aware of World Cancer Day, but the significance of it passed me by. And then I got diagnosed with breast cancer myself, and I went from being a doctor to being a patient, having the very illness that I was an expert in. I never thought breast cancer could happen to me, and I didn’t check my breasts regularly – which goes against everything I tell my patients. But I did get cancer, and I got the full works when it came to treatment. Five months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and implant reconstruction, followed by further lymph node removal and then radiotherapy. The finishing touch was an instant chemical menopause, which was not what I had planned at the age of 40.
by Liz O’Riordan MD, Living with Cancer
“I’m a consultant breast surgeon, and I have breast cancer”. That’s something I never thought I’d say. I was diagnosed in July 2015, and it’s fair to say that life would never be the same again. I noticed a lump in my left breast in March, and all the scans were normal at the time. Three months’ later, when I got another lump, I went back to the breast clinic. My mammogram was normal. The radiologist asked me if I wanted to see the USS. I said yes. I turned my head to look, and in that split second, I knew. No learning curve. It was cancer. I would need chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. I knew all the side effects of all the treatments, and all the risks of recurrence.