A US news reporter says a viewer saved her life after urging her to get a lump on her neck checked.
The eagle-eyed viewer got in touch with the young Florida reporter after noticing her swollen neck on TV.
Victoria Price, a reporter with NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa, said she will “forever be thankful” to the stranger who emailed her and encouraged her to see a doctor.
The reporter also shared the email the woman sent her on social media, saying it was ‘scary’ to think that the rare cancer may have gone unnoticed if she had not gotten in touch.
Victoria said she wanted to raise awareness after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer – which was fortunately caught while it was still spreading, NBC reports.
The rare cancer type can affect women in their twenties and thirties, according to experts.
The reporter shared the email she received from the unnamed viewer – who had recognised the sinister symptom of the same cancer she herself had suffered.
The email read: “Hi, I just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked,” it read. “Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself.”
Victoria shared the story of her close brush with the serious illness on Thursday: “As a journalist, it’s been full throttle since the pandemic began. Never-ending shifts in a never-ending news cycle. Adjusting to remote workflows and in my case, taking on a new investigative role.”
“We were covering the most important health story in a century, but my own health was the farthest thing from my mind.”
“Doctor says it’s spreading, but not too much, and we’re hopeful this will be my first and last procedure,” she continued.
“Had I never received that email, I never would have called my doctor. The cancer would have continued to spread. It’s a scary and humbling thought.”
The reporter tweeted that she would be taking some time off, and received an outpouring of well-wishes as well as messages of support from thyroid cancer survivors.
Price ended her social media posts by saying she “will forever be thankful” to the viewer who emailed her.
“She had zero obligation to, but she did anyway. Talk about being on your side, huh? The world is a tough place these days. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Love y’all and see you soon.”
Her fans were full of praise for the reporter, as well as the viewer who potentially saved her life.
One wrote in a comment on her Instagram post: “So glad someone cared enough to take the time to look up your email, time to email you and that you took it seriously!
“This a perfect example about the domino effect. Now, you get to prevent serious health issues, but not just that. Through your experience, you have created awareness to countless lives that might come across your story. Wishing speedy recovery!”
Thyroid cancer is rare, and affects the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck.
The glands on our necks can often swell when our immune system is fighting illness- like an infection.
And a swollen thyroid can be a symptom of other chronic health issues like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism – in what is known as a ‘goiter.’
But the telltale swollen gland can sometimes be a symptom of more sinister illnesses like thyroid cancer.
According to the NHS, a cancerous thyroid can often be painless.
Women are three to four times more likely to get it than men, and it most often occurs in people in their 30s or over 60s.
A neck lump is more likely to be cancer if it feels firm, does not move easily under the skin, and gets bigger over time, the NHS advises.
A sore throat, difficulty swallowing and breathing, unexplained voice hoarseness, and diarrhoea and flushing can also be symptoms.
Thyroid cancer can be treated with options like removing part or all of it, sometimes along with other lymph glands, and can be targeted with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
But it can prove deadly if the cancer is not caught early and spreads to other parts of the body.
Thyroid cancer is the most common form of endocrine cancer, but deaths are uncommon in the UK and it has around an 84% survival rate, according to medical experts.
However Cancer Research UK says 400 people a year still tragically lose their lives to the cancer.