Don’t let the busyness of life interfere with taking care of yourself. When it comes to health, be your own best advocate.
SINCE 1995, Deborah Norville has hosted the nation’s number one daily news magazine, Inside Edition. The two-time Emmy award winner is also the author of a New York Times best seller, Thank You Power, Making the SCIENCE of Gratitude Work for YOU, which makes the case that gratitude is the key to unlocking one’s full life potential. Little did she know that the wisdom contained in that book would serve Deborah well when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer eleven years later.
When did you first realize there was a health issue?
It’s hard to believe, but it started about 20 years ago. An Inside Edition viewer got in touch with my staff because she had seen a lump on my neck and was concerned. To this day, I don’t know who that viewer is, but I am so grateful for her because she possibly saved my life. I had not noticed any kind of lump, but to be on the safe side, I still had it checked out. Turned out it was a thyroid nodule. They are very common—about half of Americans will have one by the time they are 60 years old—but they can become cancerous. My doctor told me we would monitor the nodule on a regular basis. Well, in 2019, the nodule tested positive for cancer.
How advanced was the cancer?
Fortunately, it was very localized. We caught it early. No chemotherapy or radiation was needed, only surgery. However, I was still concerned. After all, I talk for a living, and the surgery required manipulating the nerves that power the vocal cords in order to remove most of my thyroid.
How did the surgery go?
Well, it was easy for me since I was out cold during the entire procedure. It was hard for my family, though, especially my husband, Karl. The surgery was scheduled to last about three hours, but it actually lasted more than four and a half hours. Finally, Karl got the text message saying that I was out of surgery and everything was OK.
How did you feel after the surgery?
I was so thankful that everything went well and that my voice was the same. I was also very grateful for the viewer who reached out 20 years ago and all of the people who expressed their love and kindness to me.
What do you want people to know?
Thyroid cancer is three times more likely to occur in women. There’s no screening available like there is for breast cancer, for example. Women need to be aware of the symptoms. If you have difficulty swallowing or breathing, if you are hoarse, if your voice changes or if you are experiencing neck pain, you need to see your primary care provider. Unfortunately, some cases, like mine, are completely asymptomatic. In fact, the night before the surgery, I looked in the mirror and still couldn’t see the lump on my neck.
Any final thoughts?
I would really encourage women to be more proactive about their health, especially when it comes to preventive screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. For 20 years, I was fairly diligent about having my thyroid checked on a regular basis. But when I went for the checkup that discovered my cancer, I had slipped up and was six months late with my appointment. If I had kept postponing that regular medical appointment, my outcome might have been tragically different. So I know personally how important it is for each woman to check with her medical providers and make sure she is up to date on all of her medical screenings and exams. If you have an appointment, be sure to put it on your schedule and make it a priority. Don’t let the busyness of life interfere with seeing your doctor. When it comes to your health, be your own best advocate.
Women’s health is a relevant healthcare topic at any point during the year. Therefore, it is appropriate to raise awareness about the wide range of women’s health services available through your hospital and clinics, such as mammography, cancer screenings, pre-natal care and more. OB/GYNs, internal and family medicine providers and diagnostic imaging specialists are appropriate voices to promote this awareness. Effective marketing tools might include social media, digital media and print, in tandem with a strong call to action to learn more about and to schedule an appointment with a local provider or women’s health specialist.
About Brentwood Communications, Inc.
Brentwood Communications specializes in healthcare marketing. Through our monthly AdBank subscription service, thousands of field-tested marketing materials — including content related to heart health — are available and can be easily customized to reflect your hospital or clinic’s existing brand.
Brentwood Communications also helps hospitals stay in touch with their communities through an informative and cost-effective digital and printed magazine called My Hometown Health, a powerful tool to help promote better health and raise awareness of key services available at the hospital. Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville is featured in the current Spring 2022 magazine, which focuses on women’s health. Deborah talks openly about her thyroid cancer and the power of preventive care.