BEFORE being diagnosed with cancer, it can seem difficult and overwhelming to know what symptoms and abnormalities to look out for — a fact Lorna Nickson Brown learned the hard way, after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in 2015.
“It is not widely known about. I didn’t even know what a thyroid was until I was told I have thyroid cancer,” the actor shared in a Twitter post. “Now I know EVERYTHING about thyroids!”
Her post includes two photos: one taken a year before she was diagnosed with a clear lump visible on her neck, and another that shows her looking like “Frankenstein” after her surgery.
While her cancer journey has ended well, and she’s now been in remission for over a year, she’s highly aware that she could easily have never detected the lump in her throat. Now, she’s sharing her ordeal in the hope it will encourage others to know the symptoms of little-known thyroid cancer.
According to Lorna, it was her mum who first noticed that her neck looked different. “She thought I lost a bit of weight, but three months later I visited the GP who confirmed that it was a thyroid nodule,” she told indy100. Further tests were then conducted, confirming the nodule was malignant.
Being an actor, she was immediately concerned about what this sort of diagnosis would mean for her career: “This isn’t what I thought cancer looked like. The minute you tell people, it’s the cancer face. I didn’t feel ill.”
The fact she felt otherwise fine, and was able to overlook the growing nodule in her neck for many months, is an important reminder to be acutely aware of changes to your body — particularly what’s going on below the surface.
“PLEASE CHECK YOUR NECK”
“Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer and it usually presents itself as a large lump in the front of your neck,” Lorna writes.
“Please check your neck, and look at others around you. Most thyroid cysts are benign, but some aren’t. Mine certainly wasn’t. Get it checked!”
Other symptoms of thyroid cancer to look out for:
1. A firm lump in the neck which feels stiff under the skin
2. Swollen glands in the neck
3. Unexplainable and enduring hoarseness of voice and sore throat
4. Neck pain
5. Difficulty with swallowing and breathing