(FOX 9) - A year ago, a breast cancer diagnosis turned a local woman's life upside down. But now, Elizabeth Sorensen is on a new journey that she is hoping will make an impact in the lives of others.
Months after a doctor’s appointment, a pea-sized lump in Sorensen’s breast grew to the size of a golf ball.
“I thought to myself, ‘Hmm that’s not normal,’” she said.
Last year, Sorensen had just relocated from St. Paul to Austin, Texas, when she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.
“It’s not something you’re expecting at the age of 37,” she said.
She began chemotherapy and eventually moved back to the Twin Cities where she had a mastectomy, which is the removal of both breasts.
“Someone said to me one time, ‘it can either be a big C or a little C in your life,’ and I never looked at it like a big C in my life,” she said.
Photos reveal her journey and the emotional and physical toll that left her feeling self-conscious.
“Your body doesn’t look the same. It will never look the same, and I think it’s very important to do as much research as you can,” Sorensen said.
Next year, she plans to undergo a Hidden Scar procedure that will help minimize scarring.
“You basically have minimal visibility of your scars, and a lot of women struggle with body issues,” she said.
The disease tested her strength, but today, Sorensen is cancer free. One of many lessons learned - she says it's important for women to advocate for their health.
“I see cancer in my life, and I choose to see it this way as a blessing because it taught me so many life lessons,” she said.
According to the National Institutes of Health, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer worldwide, with an estimated 269,000 newly diagnosed cases and more than 42,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2019.