Without experiencing it first-hand, it's hard to know what's normal and what's not when it comes to symptoms of cancer. And that's precisely what actor Lorna Nickson Brown discovered the hard way.
In 2015, Brown was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She took to Twitter to explain her initial ignorance on the subject.
"It is not widely known about. I didn't even know what a thyroid was until I was told I have thyroid cancer," Brown shared on Twitter. "Now I know EVERYTHING about thyroids!"
The photos attached to her post showed a before shot, where an Adam's apple-like lump can be seen on Brown's neck and the "after", a stitched up shot of Brown post-surgery.
Evidently Brown has survived the dreaded C and has been in remission for a year, however, she's all too aware that she could have just as easily ignored the lump in her throat.
Wanting to use her experience for the good of all, Brown wants to share the things you need to know about this lesser-known but equally dangerous cancer.
Brown mentioned that it was her mother that first noticed the abnormality on her 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," Brown said in an interview with indy100.
Thankfully, after undergoing a series of tests, the lump was found to be malignant.
This didn't stop Brown from worrying about how this little discovery was going to affect her career in the spotlight.
"This isn't what I thought cancer looked like. The minute you tell people, it's the cancer face. I didn't feel ill."
Brown said that because she didn't feel physically bad, she could have overlooked the lump for many more months but she cautions that, being aware of what your body's doing (especially under the surface) is crucial.
It's a pain in the neck but...
"Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer and it usually presents itself as a large lump in the front of your neck," Brown explains.
"Please check your neck, and look at others around you. Most thyroid cysts are benign, but some aren't. Mine certainly wasn't. Get it checked!"
Here are a few symptoms you need to be aware of:
1. A firm-to-the-touch lump under the skin.
2. Swollen glands.
3. Reoccurring hoarseness and sore throats.
4. Physical pain in the neck region.
5. Discomfort when breathing or swallowing.