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victoriaprice-wfla

Photo: Twitter via at Deadline

Years ago I read an article in which a dermatologist lamented how conflicted he felt when he saw a stranger on the street with an obvious skin cancer. Should he tell the person to see a doctor? Should he mind his own business? I was shocked that it was even a question. If you see a stranger with her coat on fire, are you going to say it’s not your problem and walk away?

Thank goodness there are Good Samaritans out there. One woman who failed to mind her own business probably saved the life a young television reporter recently.

Cathy Free writes at the Washington Post, “As a television news reporter in Tampa, Victoria Price is accustomed to finding her inbox full of emails from viewers offering story ideas, criticism and praise, along with the occasional fashion critique.

“When she opened an email in June that had a small message in the subject line but was otherwise empty, Price, 28, was tempted to dismiss it as a bad joke or spam. But then she impulsively decided to hand her phone to her boyfriend, Ryan Smith.

“ ‘I said, ‘”Look at this weird email I just got,” ‘ recalled Price, an investigative journalist for NBC affiliate WFLA. A woman from out of state had seen a report by Price on the evening news a few hours earlier and had spotted something that troubled her, she said.

‘Hi, just saw your news report,’ the viewer wrote. ‘What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself.’

“Price, who had never noticed anything unusual about the appearance of her neck, said she didn’t think the message was worth taking seriously. Smith thought otherwise. …

“Several weeks later, after she had had an ultrasound and a blood panel screening, Price received startling news: She had papillary thyroid cancer that had started to spread to her lymph nodes. Her doctor recommended that she have surgery as soon as possible.

“ ‘It was explained to me that I had a large nodule growing right in the middle of my thyroid, and it was pushing my gland so that it bulged from the side of my neck,’ Price said. ‘That’s what the woman who emailed me had noticed. Fortunately for me, she reached out about it.’

“On July 27, Price underwent surgery at Tampa General Hospital to have her thyroid removed. Her surgeon also removed 19 cancerous lymph nodes, she said, and she was relieved to learn that she didn’t immediately need to do any follow-up treatment apart from daily hormone replacement medicine. …

“A few days before the surgery, in a post on Twitter, Price alerted WFLA viewers to her diagnosis and thanked the observant stranger who may have saved her life.

“ ‘As a journalist, it’s been full throttle since the pandemic began,’ she wrote. ‘Never-ending shifts in a never-ending news cycle. We were covering the most important health story in a century, but my own health was the farthest thing from my mind. Until a viewer emailed me last month. Turns out, I have cancer, [and] I owe it to one of our wonderful @WFLA viewers for bringing it to my attention.’ …

“Now back at work, Price said she hopes to launch a foundation before year’s end to promote thyroid cancer awareness for young adults.

“ ‘I’ve learned that for young people, particularly women between ages 20 and 35, this is the most commonly diagnosed cancer,’ she said, with about 53,000 people diagnosed every year. …

“If not for that alert viewer, Price said, she might have gone for months without knowing she had a problem. … ‘It’s very humbling to know that this person took the time to shoot me this little email. Your health is your wealth — without it, you don’t have anything. …

” ‘I’m so incredibly thankful for what she did. If she hadn’t sent that email, I may have never seen my doctor, and the cancer would have continued to grow. I just want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.’ ”

More at the Washington Post, here.

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