A mum who ignored symptoms of what turned out to be thyroid cancer has shared just how it is important to look out for warning signs – including dry skin and brittle hair.
Christina McKnight, now 35, thought little of her symptoms for weeks when she was 27-years-old, until she was “forced” to see a doctor by her husband, Matthew Mcknight, 36.
While Christina – who now has a five-year-old son – thought her symptoms were a result of stress at her job, they were actually tell-tale signs of something more sinister.
Her fatigue, brain fog and brittle hair were all signs of concern for her doctor, and after investigations in the hospital, Christina was given a shocking diagnosis.
The content creator, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the autumn of 2014 – despite having no history of it in her family, and being “young, fit and healthy”.
Speaking about how she should have listened to her body earlier and gone to see her GP, Christina said: “I just started to feel very tired and had loads of brain fog, but I thought it was just because of my promotion.
“Then my husband noticed how tired I was and my lack of interest in things like the gym – which I usually love.
“I couldn’t get stuff done like I used to. I would have to go to work on a Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.”
She continued: “My hair got weirdly brittle, and my skin got dry too.
“I kept brushing it all off. My husband knew something wasn’t right and made me book a doctor appointment – which I cancelled twice because I had too much going on.
“I finally went to the doctor to appease my husband mostly. I just told him that my symptoms were because I wasn’t looking after myself – I was eating fast food and stressed at work.
“Thankfully my doctor recognised my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed other people with thyroid cancer. He felt my neck and found a lump which I wasn’t even aware of and got the ball rolling with diagnosis.”
Following her doctor’s concerns, Christina then had an ultrasound and a biopsy which confirmed she had thyroid cancer.
While at first, Christina was hesitant to accept the diagnosis, as her thyroid would have to be removed, she then went through with it after getting a second opinion.
In November 2014, she had a thyroidectomy, followed by a radioactive iodine ablation treatment in January to remove any remains of her thyroid glands.
A year later, Christina was given the all clear. However, she has had to have thyroid replacement injections to replace the hormones lost.
Now, Christina has taken to social media to share her experiences and urge her 102k followers on TikTok to look out for any warning signs their bodies may produce.
In one of her videos, she said: “It was very surreal, because cancer is such a big word.
“It was such a shock and I just thought this can’t be, it was a weird feeling.
“A lot of the time they say thyroid cancer happens to older people and that it’s hereditary, but that wasn’t the case with me.
“I share my story, not to scare people, but to remind them to pay attention if you’re experiencing changes and to go to the doctor.”
She added: “Listen to the people around you if they notice changes in you, sometimes they see things in us that we don’t see.
“Thankfully I’m OK and my husband made sure I saw a doctor, but I never would’ve thought that being tired and having dry hair was cancer.
“It’s so important to be aware of these lesser-known symptoms and to not assume it wouldn’t happen to you, listen to the people around you and listen to changes in your body – it could save your life.”