An eagle-eyed viewer might've saved the life of TV reporter Victoria Price by noticing that a lump on her neck, visible during a recent broadcast, looked like thyroid cancer.
After receiving an email from an individual who recommended she see a doctor, Price's diagnosis was confirmed, and she underwent surgery to remove the malignancy. The journalist, who's based in Tampa, Florida, reflected on the whole experience with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday.
Price, who's feeling "90% back to normal" in the wake of her operation, explained that she initially didn't take the viewer's warning seriously at all. She recalled that she showed her boyfriend the note, saying "'Read this weird email I got today.' I was totally going to dismiss it. I was like, 'I don't see anything.'"
But Price's boyfriend had a different reaction. He suggested she see a doctor because "the worst that's happens is that it's nothing," she continued. "I'm glad that I listened to him because that set the process into motion."
After speaking with doctors, Price said that she's now able to look back and see that something was wrong with her neck.
"I had a nodule in the middle of my throat ... and that was actually forcing my thyroid glands out to the side of my neck," she told Savannah. "Those glands had developed cancer and that had spread into my lymph nodes."
"So once it was pointed out to me, I could see it, but up until then I really hadn't noticed," she added. "I think it was a gradual change over time, and those are really hard to notice on yourself."
When asked about the reaction to her story, Price said it's been the "most overwhelming aspect."
"Who would've thought that the craziest part of having cancer wouldn't actually be the cancer part?" she quipped. "The love and support has been the most phenomenal thing I've experienced in my entire life. It's really helped to power me through this, keep a really positive attitude."
Price also shared that she and her mother have plans to start a foundation to promote awareness of thyroid cancer in young woman. "I don't think we talk about it enough, how prolific it is," she said.
As for her own recovery process, Price said things look "very, very good" and that the cancer hadn't spread beyond what was initially detected. Her surgeon was able to remove it all, so she will have a follow-up exam in four weeks and doctors will continue to monitor her bloodwork moving forward.
"I think I'm pretty much on the road to recovery and should be good from here on out," she added.
Price's story went viral at the end of July when she shared a picture of her neck and a screenshot of the email she received from a viewer on Instagram.
"Hi, just saw your news report," it read. "What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself."
In Price's Instagram post about the incident, she called the experience "scary and humbling."
"Had I never received that email, I never would have called my doctor," she wrote. "I will forever be thankful to the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger."
For those who found Price's story concerning, given how young she is, NBC medical correspondent Dr. John Torres offered some tips for detecting thyroid cancer.
"Know your body, know if you have any changes, and if you do, seek attention. Find out why you're having those changes," he told Savannah. "With the thyroid, there can be very subtle changes."
Common symptoms for thyroid cancer include: a lump in the front of the neck, swollen neck glands, throat and neck pain, hoarseness, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and persistent cough not caused by a cold. Women are three times more susceptible than men, and family history of thyroid cancer increases your risk. Thyroid cancer is most common in people between 25 and 65 years old.
The good news? "It's one of the most treatable cancers out there," Torres said.