Liz O’Riordan: Life After Cancer

Liz O'Riordan

Liz O’Riordan had trained for decades to become a breast cancer surgeon in the U.K. Finally, settled into practice, she realized her childhood dream to be a surgeon.

Liz went on to treat thousands of women with breast cancer. But when she received her own diagnosis, she was stunned. Medical training didn’t prepare her for the very human experience.

Liz faced surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Then two years later, a recurrence led to still more treatment. As a result, Liz was no longer able to function as a surgeon.


Cancer had robbed me of the only thing I ever wanted to do since I was a little girl.”


With no hobbies, no social life and no job, Liz faced a fundamental redesign of her life.

How does one navigate a potentially life threatening, career destroying bump in the road and find some wisdom along the way?

Liz started with a website. Later came a book. And then a TED Talk. Today, unable to continue to work as a surgeon (at just 45 years old) she is on a very different life path than the one she spent decades studying and training for.

Liz talks about the experience of cancer, recurrence, and the re-making of her life from dedicated surgeon to dedicated friend and human. What advice do you give to someone facing a life changing bump in the road? No rules, says Liz. And so much more.

Bump In The Road:

Liz O’Riordan


  1. chris

    Life is so Fuc*ed up since losing my loved one to Esophageal Cancer. I am forever changed and not in a better way. Cancer not only took the only precise person in my life it took me. Since then I have devoted my life towards a targeted treatment for EC. I will lie, cheat and steal for the EC patient. God Bless all of our cancer patients and everyone touched by this dreaded disease. May all of us be gentle to ourselves and know that we are loved.

    • Pat Wetzel

      I am so sorry for your loss. But using that terrible pain to do some good for others is a powerful response that will make a difference. My thoughts are with you.

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Bump in the Road

Everyone hits a bump in the road. The question becomes: What do you do with it?

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