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Breast Cancer and the Power of Narrative


In our eleventh Medicine 360 podcast, Kris Hallenga and Dr Liz O’Riordon discuss breast cancer and the power of narrative with Dr Ishminder Mangat. They discuss what inspired them to write their stories, and how writing their stories has affected their lives.


Kris Hallenga is a best-selling author, broadcaster and founder of the first breast-cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! In 2009 she was diagnosed with secondary metastatic breast cancer at the age of 23. CoppaFeel!’s campaigning has resulted in cancer awareness being put onto school curriculums. Kris has won a Pride of Britain award, a Cosmopolitan Ultimate Campaigner award, and has been given an Honorary Doctorate by Nottingham Trent University. In 2021 she published a memoir, Glittering a Turd: How Surving the Unsurvivable Taught Me to Live, which became a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. She has a podcast of the same name, in which she speaks to guests about the difficulties in their lives.


Liz O’Riordan is an international speaker, broadcaster, and the award winning co-author of The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to Feel Empowered and Take Control. She began to speak and write about breast cancer after having been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2015, aged 40. A recurrence in 2018, and complications affecting her left shoulder, forced her to retire from her job as a consultant breast surgeon. In 2020 she launched a podcast, ‘Don’t Ignore the Elephant’, which explores difficult-to-discuss topics. In 2023 her cancer returned for a second time. Her memoir, Under the Knife: Life Lessons from the Operating Theatre has just come out.


This podcast is hosted by Dr Ishminder Mangat, a junior doctor in Bristol interested in exploring the links between medicine and the humanities.

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