Local oncologist says Deborah Norville’s cancer discovery a good reminder

ST. LOUIS - In a recent YouTube video, 'Inside Edition' host Deborah Norville announced she had a cancerous thyroid nodule that would require surgery.

It was a viewer who first noticed something on her neck, she said.

“You know we live in a world of 'see something, say something' and I’m really glad we do. And a long time ago an Inside Edition viewer reached out to say she’d seen something on my neck. It was a lump. Well, I’d never noticed the thing,” Norville said in the video.

The mother of three became a household name after taking over as host of the Today Show in 1990.

She’s been with 'Inside Edition' since 1995.

“For years, it was nothing,” she said of the lump.

That has changed.

“It was something. The doctor says it’s a very localized form of cancer,” Norville said.

SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital head and neck oncologist, Dr. Ronald Walker, told Fox 2/News 11 Norville’s case was not typical but also not surprising.

The thyroid itself can be hard to locate by feel, let alone a nodule that can be a ½-inch in diameter or smaller.

“The nature of thyroid nodules is that they grow very slowly,” Dr. Walker said. “So, someone may not notice it over the course of many years. It may not cause them to become alarmed. They may become more accustomed to it. It’s not until someone from the outside looking in can say something looks funny.”

Once discovered, it’s common to leave them alone if they’re not cancerous but people need to consult a doctor to keep an eye on them in case that changes, he said.

“People who have lumps in their neck that shouldn’t be there, need to have them looked at, whether that’s with imaging or biopsies, if you a lump there that shouldn’t be there, you should figure out why,” Dr. Walker said. “I think there’s a certain feeling in some people that they don’t want to know what it is because they’re scared what the diagnosis could mean. But I think in her case she has this finding that has very good treatment and very good outcomes.”

Norville’s procedure will not require chemo or radiation, she said.

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