How Brooke Burke found out she had thyroid cancer
Most of us know Brooke Burke as a former host of Dancing with the Stars. Burke is also a model, actress, blogger, mom of four kids, and thyroid cancer survivor. She decided to make her cancer story public to educate people about the disease and urge them to have regular check-ups.
Back in 2012, things were going great for Brooke, and she was feeling fine. She went to the hospital for her regular physical, thinking she’s in good health. Then came the surprise: Brooke’s doctor felt a small lump in her neck, which turned out to be a thyroid nodule.
After several biopsies, it was confirmed that the nodule was cancerous. Brooke announced the diagnosis to her fans in a video:
Fortunately, the cancer was found early, and Burke’s thyroid was taken out. She soon announced she was cancer-free.
Burke has to take synthetic thyroid hormone, but it’s not new to her, as she had been living with Hashimoto’s disease for a decade before her cancer diagnosis.
In an interview with Health, Burke revealed that eating healthy and exercising helped her recover after cancer treatment. She said:
I was already eating healthy. But it really confirms how good I feel when I work out. After lying around for a few weeks, I was like, 'Agh! I need to move. I need to sweat and get that adrenaline rush.' It's the best antidepressant. It's like the best medicine in the world.
In the same interview, she also stressed the importance of having regular check-ups even if you feel fine. Cancer often produces no symptoms until it’s in advanced stages. Burke said:
The reason I went public about it was to spread the word about preventive health. I book that long, annoying, yearly physical, even when I feel perfectly fine. Do we really want to carve out half the day for that? No, but it's so important.
A word on thyroid cancer
When it comes to thyroid cancer, some doctors say it’s a “good cancer”, as strange as it sounds. That’s because the disease is one of the most curable cancers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of this disease may include the following:
- a palpable lump in the neck;
- voice changes, such as hoarseness;
- difficulty swallowing;
- pain in the neck or throat;
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
If you have these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have thyroid cancer, as they may be caused by other conditions. Anyway, you should see your doctor if anything worries you.
Factors that put you at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer include the following:
- being female;
- exposure to high levels of radiation;
- certain genetic syndromes affecting the thyroid, such as familial medullary thyroid cancer and multiple endocrine neoplasia;
- chronic inflammation of the thyroid, such as due to Hashimoto’s disease.
It’s possible to develop thyroid cancer (or any other type of cancer) even if you have no known risk factors. So watch out for any worrying symptoms and follow Burke’s advice: don’t skip your annual check-ups.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.