When actor and producer Lorna Nickson Brown was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, she says she went numb because she couldn't understand how she — a 26-year-old who felt totally fine — could be seriously ill. But it turns out Lorna was exhibiting a classic symptom of thyroid cancer that can be detected through a selfie. Lorna had a lump on her neck, which she told Indy100 is a tell-tale sign of the cancer.
Lorna went to the doctor after her mother noticed a bump on her neck, and that's when she received her diagnosis.
"I felt numb. I didn’t believe it because I felt so well," she told Indy 100. "This isn’t what I thought cancer looked like."
Lorna was able to get surgery and recover, but now that she's healthy she wants everyone to know that there's no one way cancer looks. It can look like a young, otherwise healthy, successful woman, and that's why we all need to know its other signs. To help spread awareness, Lorna has teamed up with the UK-based charity Get-a-Head, an organization that supports people with head and neck diseases and cancers.
According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of thyroid cancer include a lump or swelling in the neck, pain in the front of the neck that sometimes goes up to the ears, hoarseness or other voice changes, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, and a constant cough that's unrelated to a cold. In Lorna's case, she had at least one symptom, but felt fine otherwise, so it's important to get checked out even if you think a bump or swelling on your neck might be nothing.
Lorna's story sends an important message that can help us all look out for one another, and it's particularly illustrated in a side by side photo of her. One photo is of her before her diagnosis, in which the lump on her neck is clearly visible. The other is her after she'd had it removed. That's how a selfie could save your — or someone else's— life. If you notice a lump on someone's neck, making them aware of thyroid cancer symptoms could make all the difference.
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