When Lorna Nickson Brown was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015, she was shocked — at the time, she was a healthy 26-year-old, and hadn't shown any obvious symptoms of being ill.
"This isn't what I thought cancer looked like," she told Indy100. "I didn't feel ill."
However, she had unknowingly been exhibiting one subtle symptom of cancer for over a year. Brown posted two photos of herself in a message on Twitter, one in which you can notice a subtle bump on her neck, a tell-tale sign of a thyroid problem. The second photo shows Brown in treatment for cancer, post-surgery to remove the lump.
Brown told Indy100 that her mother was the first to notice the lump, and when she paid a visit to her doctor, it was confirmed to be a thyroid nodule, or an abnormal growth of cells. While thyroid nodules can be benign, the one on Brown's neck was larger than normal and felt hard to the touch, giving doctors reason to investigate further.
When scans revealed the the lump was cancerous, Brown was dumbfounded.
"I felt numb," she told Indy100. "I didn’t believe it because I felt so well."
Luckily, she was able to go into surgery to have the lump removed and has now been in remission for over a year. Now, she's spreading awareness for others, and working with UK-based charity called Get-a-Head, which helped her during her recovery, to raise awareness for thyroid cancer.
As Brown points out in her post, thyroid cancer is rare, though women are more likely to get it than men are. Besides a lump in the neck, other symptoms include pain in the front of the neck, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, hoarseness in the voice, and a constant cough that isn't due to a cold.
As Brown said, symptoms of cancer might not always be recognizable right away — when in doubt, it's always best to check with your doctor as soon as possible.
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