Two years ago, at the age of 25, Lorna Nickson Brown was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She and her family were taken by surprise as she was a seemingly healthy young woman who didn't exhibit any symptoms of a serious illness.
Little did they know that the signs were hiding in plain sight the whole time.
"My mum noticed a lump on the front left side of my neck. She thought I lost a bit of weight, but three months later I visited the GP who confirmed that it was a thyroid nodule," she told Indy100.
After going through four months of scans, Lorna had a biopsy which unfortunately confirmed that her thyroid nodule was cancerous.
The actress and producer couldn't believe the diagnosis, "I felt numb. I didn’t believe it because I felt so well. At the time I was optioned for a Golden Globe-nominated TV series," she explained. "This isn’t what I thought cancer looked like. The minute you tell people, it’s the cancer face. I didn’t feel ill."
Following the advice of her oncologist John Watkinson, she opted for a partial thyroidectomy so they could remove the cancerous nodule from the left side of her thyroid.
However, that wasn't the end of the treatment for Lorna.
Thanks to the procedure, Lorna is now cancer-free, but she'll have to depend on Thyroxine to provide her body with extra hormones for the rest of her life.
Lorna is using her scary experience to warn other women of the silent killer that almost took her life.
She told Indy100 that "we don’t speak openly about illness so you can feel quite isolated. It can feel quite lonely...I think everyone should have someone like Des [her counselor] – no matter the illness. Mental health in patients – especially patients with cancer is so overlooked. My ability to lead a better life is the fact that I had psychological support from day one."
Lorna also tells the website that women should always be on the lookout for symptoms, but don't look them up on Google because it can be "so scary" and inaccurate.
Some possible symptoms of thyroid cancer include a firm, growing neck lump, swollen neck glands, unexplained hoarseness of the voice, sore throat, pain in the neck, difficulty swallowing and breathing.
If you think you have any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to go see your doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Don't forget to share this message with all the women you know.