Former Small Faces frontman and solo sex god, Rod Stewart, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which is considered a common thyroid disorder, in 1999 – an event he says, that has profoundly affected his life. At first, it was thought that the rock star had a benign vocal nodule (another common occurrence among singers who don’t warm their voices up properly or strain too often during performances) but he later revealed the real problem himself.
Fortunately, Rod’s thyroid cancer was discovered early and was described as slow-growing, so, in May 2001 the singer underwent surgery at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to have the lump removed. He made a full recovery and has since been committed to raising awareness about the disease ever since.
In an interview with USA Today, shortly after his recovery he said: “Needless to say, it was a shock. But fortunately, I had a particularly slow-growing thyroid cancer which was surgically removed, and now I have a clean bill of health…As anyone who has been through this experience knows, when you are so close to something that is potentially life-threatening, you tend to get your life in perspective.”
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” he continues. “The first thing you think is ‘Why?’ The next thing you think is “What can I do to help?’”
By way of paying his doctors and fellow cancer sufferers back, Stewart committed himself to helping The City of Hope Foundation, whose mission it is to find cures for all forms of cancer. He put his personal pool table and vintage jukebox up for auction in order to raise money for the organisation.
According to the Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) around 16,000-17,000 cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed every year in the US, yet many remain undiagnosed. The condition afflicts mostly women aged between 25 and 65 and if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.
The AACE has urged everyone to take the time once in a while to conduct a simple thyroid neck check as follows:
1. Stand in front of mirror
2. Stretch neck back
3. Swallow water
4. Look for enlargement in neck (below the adam’s apple, above the collar bone)
6. Feel area to confirm enlargement or bump
7. If a problem detected, see an endocrinologist or primary physician
“Most thyroid cancers are highly treatable and with excellent outcomes, particularly if they’re detected early – It’s about as prevalent as cervical cancer, but far less known, which is why we call it ‘the forgotten cancer’.” AACE President Dr. Paul S. Jellinger.