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24 Selfies That Show What Thyroid Cancer Really Looks Like

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September marks the beginning of pumpkin spice latte season and kids going back to school. But did you know it’s also Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month? According to the American Cancer Society, nearly three out of four cases of thyroid cancer occur in women and about 56,860 new cases of it will be found this year.

One of the most alarming facts about thyroid cancer — cancer in the small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck — is that many people don’t experience symptoms or warning signs until a lump appears in their neck. Fortunately, if caught early enough, the cancer is usually treatable.

To help raise awareness, we wanted to show you photos of people living with thyroid cancer as well as thyroid cancer survivors. From pre-surgery to years after diagnosis, these people have shared their photos and stories on Instagram, offering inspiring and heartfelt messages similar to that of Tarek El Moussa and Brooke Burke-Charvet, celebrities who have both been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.


Prepping for a Total thyroidectomy surgery @ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in August 2012.

A post shared by Danielle Nicosia (@findinghopewiththyroidcancer) on


#ThrowbackThursday October 10, 2015 MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas, the morning after my thyrectomy due to cancerous nodules. It would be a few more months before i got the all clear but my surgeon was confident that got it all. I remember being scared of what the future would hold as the experiences other thyroid cancer shared were concerning. But my life after thyroid cancer has been very close to normal. I attribute that to fitness, good nutrition and God’s grace. Our current circumstances and struggles do not dictate our future! #RELENTLESS #TEAMRELENTLESS #cancersurvivor #imasurvivor #fuckcancer #thyroidcancersurvivor #thyroidcancer #thyroidcancersucks #thyca #thycawarrior #thyroidhealth #nutrition #fitness #findacure

A post shared by JD Duran (@journeystarts2day) on

Today I got my drain taken out ! Last step for a while, besides the check ups, Next step Radioactive Iodine(probably getting it done in January). The “hard part” feels like it’s officially over! I could not have done it without my mom by my side each and every minute of it.. literally sleeping on a futon chair/bed every night by my side and using the village at city of hope to freshen up for the day. I am so thankful to have had such an amazing support team there, having my sister and dad come in with their busy days, to visit me at the hospital. There were good days and miserable days and I couldn’t have done it with out you! Thanks Momma!???? #cityofhope #support #love #compassion #momma #thyroidcancersucks #fuckcancer #battlescar #drain

A post shared by Carina Campanella (@carinaallayne) on

This was the beginning of the most difficult week in my life. The goal was to get my entire thyroid out on Monday May 15th. After surgery I had come to find out only my left side was removed as well as several lymph nodes and a vocal nerve that was covered in the cancer. (Papillary thyroid carcinoma). My left side of my thyroid was completely covered in tumors and so were the surrounding tissue/lymph nodes/vocal nerve. Luckily, that side is gone forever. Today we confirmed the second surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid on Friday May 26th. My right side of my thyroid only has one tumor that is 4mm in size. (Pretty small.) There is still always a chance of complications of course, but I have faith in success of this next surgery. As of right now, my voice is very weak and is only a whisper. I only have energy that last about 3-4 hours. I am always exhausted. I stopped taking my pain meds due to how they made me feel. Recovery is happening, but another surgery is on the horizon. Thank you to everyone for the love and support. ???????????? #thyroidcancer #thyroidcancersucks #thyroidectomy #CheckYourNeck

A post shared by Julie Shaw (@wahseiluj) on

3 years cancer free! #suckitcancer #cancerfree #checkyourneck #thyroidcancerawareness

A post shared by Erin Murphy (@emurph92) on

Before and After

Today officially marks 1 year since having my total thyroidectomy. 1 year since my life was completely changed. Going into surgery, I didn’t know the golf ball size tumor was wrapping itself around my vocal chord. I didn’t know that would cause serious damage to my vocal chord and would leave me sounding like I had permanent laryngitis for over 6 months. I didn’t know the cancer had spread to 11 of the 20 lymph nodes my surgeon removed from my neck. I didn’t know my scar would be 3 inches longer than I was originally told. I didn’t know how much of a struggle it would be to go on living your life without your thyroid. I didn’t know that just about every single cell in your body depends on your thyroid in order to function properly. I didn’t know that I would never feel “normal” again. And I definitely didn’t know I’d have a reoccurrence and have to go through the whole thing all over again just a few months after. Although it hasn’t been easy, I’ve finally adjusted to this new life of being a cancer patient. I’ve gotten used to the scar, and the strange looks when people see it. I’ve gotten used to waking up every morning and needing to take a tiny little pill in order to function (but definitely haven’t gotten used to having to wait an hr afterwards before having coffee….). I’ve gotten used to no fat and low iodine diets. I’ve gotten used to numerous blood tests and scans. I’ve gotten used to telling people, “I have battled thyroid cancer twice”. I’ve gotten used to telling people that I was radioactive twice. I’m surprisingly getting very emotional as I type this as I’m thinking about how far I’ve come in the last year, and honestly I am so damn proud of myself. Now, I’m 4 months away from another body scan to determine if I am finally cancer free or not. 4 months away from saying I’ve beaten this ugly disease twice. Am I scared that I could have another reoccurrence? You bet I am. But I won’t let that get me down. Everyday is a battle, everyday is a struggle, but I will never ever ever stop fighting, or bringing awareness. ????????????????”She let her butterfly go so she could live” ????????#ThyroidCancerAwareness

A post shared by Jenah Labuski???? (@jenah_labuski) on

Filed Under: #NoFilters ~ seeing is believing ~ my labs were “normal” but, the biopsy told a different story or, two… > #September is #ThyroidCancerAwarenessMonth ~ Please, get your neck checked, find a doctor that listens to you & find a #ThyCa support group bc if you haven’t lived sans #Thyroid ~ you don’t understand… words of wisdom > * This was me two years ago ~ #IWillSurvive ~ #GloriaGaynor ~ you know the lyrics ~ ???? . . . . . #GetYourNeckChecked #NeckCheck #ThereIsNoGoodCancer ✌ #ThyroidCancer #ThyroidCancerAwareness #ThyroidDisease #AutoImmuneDisease #Hashimotos #Graves > > > now, back to #Music #MusicIsLife #September #EarthWindAndFire ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Do you remember the 21st night of #September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders While chasing the clouds away Our hearts were ringing In the key that our souls were singing. As we danced in the night, Remember how the stars stole the night away Ba de ya – say do you remember Ba de ya – dancing in September Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day . . . My thoughts are with you Holding hands with your heart to see you Only blue talk and love, Remember how we knew love was here to stay Now December found the love we shared in September. Only blue talk and love, Remember the true love we share today . . . The bell was ringing, aha Our souls were singing Do you remember Never a cloudy day There was a Ba de ya – say do you remember Ba de ya – dancing in September Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day There was a Ba de ya – say do you remember Ba de ya – dancing in September Ba de ya – golden dreams were shiny days . . . ✌❤ & #RockAndRoll ~ #iPaintToMusic ~ #Art #Artist #LouisianaArtist # ~ #iPhonePic #NotAPhotog

A post shared by Adrienne Francois (@adriennefrancois) on


I don’t know about y’all but I’m so glad today is Thursday. I only had a 4 day work week yet every day has drug on. I’m so ready for weekend. You know what else I’m ready for??? Honesty. So here goes…today I woke up all in a tizzy because the scale is going up again. Now you would think I wouldn’t be surprised since my thyroid levels are off, meds are being adjusted, spent much of the last 3 weeks sidelined by a kidney infection, etc. But then there’s all the posts about exercise and nutrition, knowing what to eat and what not to eat follow this program, move every day, blah, blah, blah. Now don’t get me wrong…I know what works and I know what to do. But at what point does the journey become less about me and more about the numbers? More about the quantity and not quality??? More about saving face? I’ll be honest, I’ve hit that point. Telling myself that if I took a break that meant I wasn’t committed to myself. That I was being lazy. That I didn’t care. None of those things could be farther from the truth. Truth is I care alot. Not just about my physical but my mental too. I looked in the mirror this afternoon and you know what I saw…that I look pretty good if I must say so myself.???? I needed to hear myself say that because I work so hard…some days as if I’m unacceptable to myself. But I am. So I’m taking a break. Giving myself permission to just be for a little. May be a day, may be a week. I share this because we all stick to things because we think we have to. Give yourself permission to step back until you’re ready to step up! Happy Thursday Evening!???? #behonestwithyourself

A post shared by Passion, Purpose, Positivity (@thereinventionofshe) on

28 Radioation, 2 radioactive iodine treatments, 8 surgeries (2 non-cancer related) and lots of scars on my body and soul. And my neck look like an old shapai. But I feel great and feel comfortable in my own skin. They suspect some more cancer nodules in my armpit. But I’m ok. My doctor told me I could hide the scars away, but I don’t wanna do that. I carry them with pride. Once and a while it does overwhelm me. But life is a blessing and if there is anything I learned from cancer is to live the fullest. To exersice and move ever day, and to do things I love ❤ with people I love ???????? #lifestyle #malta #instalove #kickcancer #luckyme #lovelife #coolhunter #luckygirl #passion #postsurgery #thyroidcancer #embraceyourself #loveyourscars #thyroidcancerawareness

A post shared by Bubbles and life (@lineyoung) on

Thyroidless Julie Update: My scar doesn’t look too bad! My voice is slowly coming back. (Super raspy) Work has been insane, but has really put my energy level and endurance to the test. I’ve been doing at least 13k a night and I’ve kept up pretty well! Other than my voice, it’s difficult to stay cool in a 90° hotel. (Always sweaty… I know gross but my body is trying so hard to cool down.) My body is constantly burning up-Thanks lack of thyroid!!! Anyways, here is my timeline of events, past and future: •May 15th 2017: left side of thyroid and vocal nerve removed. •May 26th 2017: right side of thyroid removed. •June 21st 2017: began low iodine diet for my RAI treatment. •June 29th 2017: I stop taking my thyroid medication in preparation for radiation. •July 5th 2017: first injection to lower my TSH levels. •July 6th 2017: second injection. •July 7th 2017: Radioactive I-131 dose and also the beginning of my seclusion for 7 days-due to being radioactive. •TBA: post RAI scan to see if external beam radiation is needed. (Praying that it won’t!!) ….and lots and lots of blood work! #thyroidectomy #thyroidcancer #papillarycarcinoma #cancersucks #RAI #thyroidcancersucks

A post shared by Julie Shaw (@wahseiluj) on

????????Swipe ➡➡➡ Here’s to ONE year cancer free!!! One year ago today I underwent a complete thyroidectomy, radical neck dissection and reconstruction on my recurrent laryngeal nerve. Isn’t that a mouthful? ????????‍♀ anyways, sooo grateful to be cancer free and not suffer from “as many” thyroid issues. I went almost A YEAR feeling like crap before a doctor actually listened to me and ordered the necessary tests to find my cancer. Don’t ever let medical professionals discredit how you feel due to your age. I had multiple doctors tell me I was too young and that all I had was anxiety ????????????????. YOU KNOW YOUR BODY better than ANYONE else, don’t forget that!!! So here’s a post for awareness: if you feel like crap- GO GET CHECKED! And don’t forget to always #CheckYourNeck because thyroid cancer is on the rise, so always add your TSH, T3 & T4 levels into your yearly blood work and if you notice your neck is slightly enlarged, go to your primary care physician and ask them to order an ultrasound. Be smart about your health, we only get one body- take care of it. Xoxox ???????????? #ThyroidCancer #ThycaWarrior #ThyroidCancerAwareness

A post shared by Alex Falco (@alexx_xox) on

Oldie but goodie. #thyroidcancerawareness

A post shared by Danielle Nicosia (@findinghopewiththyroidcancer) on

Have a thyroid cancer picture you want to share? If so, post it in the comments below.

Originally published: September 6, 2017
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