Woman’s Viral Photo Shows Thyroid Cancer Symptom She Completely Missed

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(Twitter / Lorna Nickson Brown)

A twenty-six year old woman was completely stunned to discover that she had thyroid cancer, even though a symptom of the disease was in plain sight. Actress Lorna Nickson Brown was diagnosed in 2015 after her mother noticed a lump on the front of her neck. After several months of scans, a biopsy determined that Brown’s lump was cancerous.

“I felt numb. I didn’t believe it because I felt so well,” Brown told Indy 100, “This isn’t what I thought cancer looked like. I didn’t feel ill.” After discussing treatment options with her doctor, Brown opted for a partial thyroidectomy, where the left part of her thyroid was removed. Luckily, her cancer hadn’t spread and she’s been in remission over a year, with fatigue as her only lingering symptom.

After learning that a lump on the neck is often a symptom of thyroid cancer, Brown has spoken out to help raise awareness.


Twitter / @LornaNBrown

In the picture of her on the left a bump is visible on the left front of her neck. Said Brown, “This photo was taken by my brother almost a year before we knew that I had thyroid cancer. You can clearly see the lump on my neck. Yet we missed it at the time!” The picture on the right is Brown post-thyroidectomy.

While 30% of adult women have thyroid nodules, the majority of them are harmless, with only 10% having malignant cells. However, women are two to three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer, so knowing the symptoms of the disease is important. Besides a neck lump like Brown’s, other symptoms include swollen neck glands, persistent unexplained hoarseness of the voice, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and a sore throat. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor.

“I didn’t even know what a thyroid was when I was told I had thyroid cancer. Now I know everything about thyroids!” said Brown in her viral image. Brown is running the London Marathon next month and is fundraising for “Get A-Head,” a charity that supports patients with head and neck cancers.

Her message has gone viral because most of us, too, had no idea that you could have cancer and not feel like you were sick. Her message is spreading across social media and we’re thankful, because her awareness may be saving lives.