Dr. Kanwal Bawa was diagnosed with breast cancer last November.
"I was now going to be thrust into the fight of my life," she said.
The single mother of twin boys, and owner of Bawa Medical, went through months of chemotherapy and treatments.
In May, Dr. Bawa had a mastectomy.
"I was going to do the exact opposite of what was expected of me," she said.
That’s when Dr. Bawa competed in the U.S. Continental Pageant - and won Ms. Florida.
"I went on stage one month after my mastectomy," she said.
Bawa said she wore her short hair and scars proudly on stage.
Her goal is to help inspire other women who are going through the same battle.
"So much of cancer is depressing, and I am not saying the I didn’t go through those moments myself. I chose not to dwell on them," she said.
Bawa’s doctor, Dr. Carm Calfa with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, said women often struggle after breast cancer, but Bawa winning this beauty pageant sends a message.
"So this to me, this is a milestone in really finding beauty after breast cancer," Dr. Calfa said.
Ms. Florida is still recovering from her treatments and surgeries, but said she has another pageant next year.
"Now that I am your Florida representative, I am going to Ms. United States," Bawa said.