Celebrities With Thyroid Cancer. Let’s do another post on celebrity health and, this time, focusing on famous people or celebrities with thyroid cancer. As we usually do, let’s check out what these celebrities are saying about their diagnosis, their treatment, and how their condition has impacted the way they live their lives.
Let’s begin our list of Celebrities With Thyroid Cancer:
Sofia Vergara, actress. In an interview with health.com, tells us how she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and how she is doing now following the removal of her thyroid gland:
How did you learn you had cancer? Because I have a family history of type 1 diabetes—my five siblings have it—I know what its like to have injections every day and to have craziness happen to your body. So I took my son to an endocrinologist to be checked out early. While we were there, the doctor wanted to check me, too, and he found a lump in my neck.
What was your reaction? I felt no symptoms, so I was skeptical about having my thyroid gland removed. Plus, the surgery is dangerous. If the doctor makes a mistake, you can lose your speech, or the mobility in your face. But I did it.
And now you have to take thyroid hormone forever? Yes, I take a Synthroid pill every morning. It controls your bodys metabolism and gives you the levels that you need. An unregulated thyroid can lead to problems with your weight, hair loss, and other things, so they give me a blood test every three months to see where my level is. Actually, I feel very lucky. In a lot of women, the cancer isnt found until around menopause—and by then its too late.
Brooke Burke-Charvet, actress and TV personality. Brooke was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012. She talked about her experience as a thyroid cancer survivor during a guest appearance on the Katie Couric show in 2013:
My doctor felt a very questionable, tiny little lump. He said to get an ultrasound, and I got an ultrasound, and then they suggested a biopsy. I had my first biopsy and my results came back atypical … they couldn’t confirm whether it was cancer or not.
Some people at that point would do nothing and go back in six months and check it but I wanted more information, so I went and I had seven biopsies done with some new genetic testing and three days later I got the call from the doctor, who said, ‘Yeah, you have 75 percent positive for cancer and you need to have a thyroidectomy.’
It’s something that you never think that you’re going to experience and I sort of went, ‘Oh, okay. I’m gonna call you next week,'” she said. “And the doctor said, ‘No, no, no Brooke. You need to have a thyroidectomy done and you need to schedule this.’
Minus the scar, I’m pretty darn lucky and happy. I took a whole month off, which is big for me because I’ve never done that. … I relaxed and caught up on some great movies and had some downtime with my family and read a little bit and really just slowed down and let my body heal.
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Rod Stewart, singer. Rod was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000 and had surgery the same year. In his memoir, Rod: The Autobiography, published in 2012, here’s what he wrote about what’s it like learning about his cancer and his subsequent surgery:
The results of the tests indicated that the ‘something’ on my thyroid gland was a malignant growth: cancer. That piece of news will really do it to you. When the initial numbness had worn off, I felt fearful, vulnerable to a degree that I never had before.
The only blessing was that everything happened quickly. Two days after the biopsy, I was driven back to hospital for an operation — under the name Billy Potts (the names of my two dogs) to narrow the chances of a leak to the Press, who’d probably not shy away from the story of ‘Rock Star Rod’ going into hospital for a ‘cancer op’.
The procedure took four hours and brought the surgeon’s knife to within a fraction of an inch of my vocal cords. Any slip at that point and it really would have been ‘Goodnight, Vienna’ as far as my career was concerned.
But the operation was a complete success. When I came round, I was given the news that the surgeon had removed everything that needed to be removed. And, because all the bad stuff was out, no chemotherapy was required — which, in turn, meant there was no risk that I’d lose my hair.
And let’s face it: if we’re ranking threats to the survival of my career, losing my hair would be second only to losing my voice.
Roger Ebert, film critic. Roger was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2002. He underwent surgery and radiation treatment but he then developed salivary cancer. People with thyroid cancer have an increased risk of developing a second primary cancer including salivary cancer. The famous film critic succumbed to the disease in 2013.
Roger’s thyroid cancer may have been caused by radiation treatments, a known risk factor for thyroid cancer, he received when he was younger. Here’s what Ebert told USA Today about such treatments:
I had radiation for an ear infection in the fifties. At that time it was still common to treat acne, earaches, and other head and neck problems with high levels of radiation we now know are dangerous. As a result there’s a little epidemic of people in my age group who are developing this type of problem.
If there’s anyone reading this who remembers having a radioactive gun aimed at them when they were a child, they might ask their doctor to look at the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in their blood tests.
Other celebrities with thyroid cancer are as follows:
Jerry Dipoto, former pro baseball player and current General Manager for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
William Rehnquist, ex-Chief Justice of the United States who succumbed to anaplastic thyroid cancer in 2005
Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins
Tipper Gore, former Second Lady
Nia Vardalos, actress
We’ll end this post with this educational material produced by the good people of Mt. Sinai Hospital.
We hope the above material, will give you more information on the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
Celebrities With Thyroid Cancer posted 15 April 2015. Last updated on 15 April 2015.