CEO for the Pasifika Medical Association Debbie Sorensen has for the first time opened up about her journey of breast cancer in a statement provided by PMA in light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mrs Sorensen provides invaluable insights, sharing her experiences to help other Pacific Island women understand that breast cancer is not a battle to be faced alone or with fear. She emphasises the importance of seeking treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and dispels the myths and anxieties that may surround these treatments.
“I think it’s really important to show Pacific women that it’s not something to be frightened of, to actually come and get treatment, to have chemotherapy, because a lot of our women, first of all, are diagnosed quite late.
“But also when doctors say to them, well, you now need chemotherapy and radiotherapy, they’ve watched too many movies, too many sad movies with things that don’t end well, and it’s not always like that. So, part of the purpose is to show women that actually this is okay, that you can do it.”
Mrs Sorensen’s background as a nurse has equipped her with valuable knowledge about medical procedures and treatment options. She acknowledges that it can be overwhelming for those without a healthcare background and strives to provide support and guidance to those facing
“It’s good that I’m a nurse because I know what to do,” she explains.
“And it must be a little bit scary if you don’t have a health background, and all the medical procedures must be quite overwhelming. But there are services and supports readily available, people just need to reach out.”
She further touches on the common tendency of women, particularly in Pacific communities, to put the health and well-being of their families above their own.
“I think that as women, we prioritise our families and we prioritise our children’s health, our husbands, our parents, sisters, our aunties, everyone over us.”
Mrs Sorensen shares her gratitude to her family and friends for their continuous support throughout her journey.
“I’m most grateful for my family and my friends. I have a work family who are as close to me as my family, and without the incredibly solid support, I would never have made this.
Mrs Sorensen’s journey with breast cancer is a testament to her strength and resilience. She refuses to let her diagnosis define her.
“I don’t see any other choice. I have too much life to live and too many things to do. Like a lot of things in your life, you get to choose how you deal with it.”