“She saw a lump on my neck. Said it reminded her of her own. Hers was cancer. Turns out, mine is too."

By Claire Gillespie
Updated August 11, 2020
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There are some eagle-eyed TV viewers who don’t miss a thing—and that’s something Victoria Price, a broadcast journalist at WFLA News in Tampa Bay, Florida, is very grateful for right now. 

Price recently discovered she has a tumor on her thyroid (the small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck), and it’s all thanks to a concerned viewer who noticed a lump on Price’s throat. 

The reporter shared her story on social media Thursday, writing, “‘8 On Your Side’ isn't just a catchphrase at @wfla. It’s our cornerstone. But the roles recently reversed when I found a viewer on MY side, and I couldn't be more grateful.”

Price revealed that her workplace has “been full throttle” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with “never-ending shifts in a never-ending news cycle.” But while she was part of a team covering the most important health story in a century, she admitted that “my own health was the farthest thing from my mind.” 

That was until a viewer emailed her last month. “She saw a lump on my neck. Said it reminded her of her own. Hers was cancer. Turns out, mine is too,” Price wrote. 

Although the COVID-19 outbreak led to some diagnostic delays, Price will finally be having surgery on July 27 to remove the tumor, her thyroid, and a couple of the nearby lymph nodes. Although the tumor is spreading, Price and her doctor are hopeful that this will be her “first and last procedure.” She added in another tweet that chemotherapy currently "isn’t in the cards."

When a Twitter follower said he didn't really see a lump in the picture Price shared, she replied that she agreed it’s not the easiest to see. “It’s not super obvious unless you know what to look for,” she replied, adding another screenshot that “shows it a bit better.” According to Price, she's still learning about her diagnosis, but her doctor "explained that the tumor is in the middle of my thyroid, pushing the glands up and out, hence the subtle protrusion.” 

Thyroid cancer is often diagnosed at a younger age than most other adult cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), and women are three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men. The symptoms of the disease are often subtle, and include the following:

  • A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

It's common, however, for people with thyroid cancer to not experience any symptoms, but they could have discomfort in the neck or feel a lump, Kenneth D. Burman, MD, director of the Endocrine Section at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, previously told Health. In fact, the ACS reports that most early thyroid cancers are diagnosed after patients see their doctors because of neck lumps or nodules they noticed.

RELATED: After a Viewer Diagnosed His Thyroid Cancer, HGTV Star Is Now in Remission

In many cases, the prognosis for thyroid cancer is good—most thyroid cancers can be cured, especially if they have not spread to distant parts of the body, per the ACS. While Price did not reveal what stage her cancer is in, the ACS reports that most thyroid cancers are treated with removal of the thyroid gland (known as a thyroidectomy), and if lymph nodes are enlarged due to the cancer, they may be removed as well.

According to Price, if she hadn’t received the email from the viewer, she never would have called her doctor. “The cancer would have continued to spread,” she wrote. “It's a scary and humbling thought. I will forever be thankful to the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger. 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.” 

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