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Doctor Spots Lump On Woman's Throat On TV, Finds Her To Warn Her About Cancer

Jun 06, 2018 08:12 AM EDT
A woman finds out she has thyroid cancer after a doctor spots her lump on television and finds her through social media.
(Photo : Engin Akyurt | Pixabay)

It's not often that doctors get to diagnose patients from a glimpse of them on television, but Dr. Erich Voigt manages to exceed expectations.

Television with social media, it turns out, can actually help save lives, especially if the right people are involved.

Voigt Spots Noticeable Lump

ABC News reports that Voigt, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon based in New York, spotted a tell-tale lump located on the throat of one woman who appeared on the HGTV show Beachfront Bargain Hunt. The lump was small and very easy to miss, but it didn't escape the scrutiny of the ENT specialist.

"I noticed that she had a lump in her neck," Voigt recalls to ABC News. "And as a head and neck surgeon, I'm trained to sort of notice these things."

He didn't just notice the lump, but recognized how serious it could turn out to be for the woman on television. Voigt tells New York Post that it had a distinct asymmetrical appearance, then moved under the surface of the skin in a way that was very concerning.

Unfortunately, he had absolutely no way to reach her. Despite her appearance on HGTV, the program didn't even mention a last name.

The Search For The Mystery Woman

Voigt instead turned to social media in an attempt to find the mystery woman, asking his Facebook friends if anyone knew her. He shared how the woman is in need of a sonogram and biopsy.

The power of social media proved to be enough as word eventually reached Nicole McGuinness from Havelock in North Carolina.

The 32-year-old is a brain cancer survivor, but her doctors were unable to spot the lump that Voigt noticed from television. When McGuinness visited a specialist for a consult after hearing Voigt's recommendation, she was told that she does have thyroid cancer in its early stages.

"It's just a miracle in my opinion that he happened to see this on TV," McGuinness tells ABC. "I can't express how grateful I am."

McGuiness finally met Voigt during a segment in Good Morning America on Tuesday, June 5.

The doctor says he's cautiously optimistic that she will be able to beat cancer a second time, especially since it's detected early, giving her a better chance for survival.

"Social media can generate fake news and negative feelings — but this time it was used in a good and positive way," Voigt says about the experience. "It helped someone. It connected people."

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