Brooke Burke-Charvet To Undergo Surgery For Thyroid Cancer

As one of the hosts on Dancing with the Stars, the typically upbeat Brooke Burke-Charvet has given little indication of the turmoil that has been going on in her personal life.

But  in a video on YouTube’s ModernMom Channel, 41-year-old Burke-Charvet announced that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and that she will need to undergo surgery.

Brooke says that her physician felt a nodule (lump) in her thyroid during her routine physical exam, but:

Being a woman devoted to living a healthy lifestyle with no health concerns other than chronic fatigue and Hashimoto’s, I casually blew off my doctor’s recommendation to get a thyroid ultrasound after he felt a lump in my neck during my routine physical.

Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid, where the body’s immune system produces antibodies against thyroid tissue. The inflammation leads to damage of the thyroid which then can’t produce as much thyroid hormone that it needs: a state called hypothyroidism. The symptoms of patients with hypothyroidism include:  fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry, thinning hair, heavy or irregular menstrual periods and impaired fertility, depression and a slowed heart rate.

It wasn’t until eight months later when a good friend shared her thyroid cancer story with her that Brooke decided to make the appointment for a thyroid ultrasound.  The results were suspicious, and she underwent a biopsy of the nodule in July 2012. The initial results came back as “atypical”- meaning that they couldn’t tell whether the nodule was definitely cancer or not.

Brooke then underwent extensive testing and sought second opinions.  She was finally given the news that “was not good.” She will have to undergo surgery to remove her thyroid. This procedure is called a thyroidectomy.

As she says in the video, she wanted  to be the one to tell her fans what was going on with her because:

I’m going to have a nice big scar right her across my neck.  And I don’t get to just walk around and pretend like nothing happened or not follow up or not share it, because it’s going to be pretty much dead center.

Physicians have told her that her prognosis is good; that it is a “happily ever after ending kind of thing.”  And she plans to make “a positive out of this negative thing.”

We wish her the best for a speedy recovery.

You can read about thyroid cancer by reading our article about Scott Thompson, or by going to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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