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Doctor spots woman’s thyroid cancer while watching reality TV, tracks her down to get tested

An image of Nicole McGuinness from an episode of the television show Beachfront Bargain Hunt that Dr. Erich Voigt posted on his Facebook page. Erich Voigt / Facebook

When an American doctor sat down to watch an episode of HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt, he spotted more than just a fixer-upper with lots of potential.

He also noticed a lump on the neck of one of the participants.

“I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass,” he posted on Facebook.

“She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy. I wonder if she knows and hope it’s benign.”

One of Dr. Erich Voigt’s Facebook followers suggested he inform the show’s producers, so he sent them an email. Others saw his post and got him directly in touch with the woman, Nicole McGuinness of North Carolina, according to reports from Newsweek and ABC News.

“The woman was notified by people who saw my post, amazing power of Facebook!!! She was not aware of the mass. She is now getting the appropriate tests! Let’s hope for a good outcome,” wrote Voigt.

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McGuinness got a biopsy, which revealed thyroid cancer. She is now receiving treatment, wrote Voigt.

“She was unaware that she had a mass. Her doctors had never noticed it. She went for the sonogram and biopsy I recommended. She just let me know … the biopsy revealed thyroid cancer. She will be seeing a surgeon and getting appropriate treatment and I hope she will be cured!”

Voigt thanked all the people who helped him find her, as well as the “power of Facebook.”

“I felt obliged to let her know what I saw.”

McGuinness told ABC News that it was “a miracle” that Voigt spotted her problem on television. “I can’t express how grateful and thankful I am.”

READ MORE: HGTV host saved after eagle-eyed viewer spots lump on his neck

This isn’t the first time that an HGTV show has helped someone spot thyroid cancer. In 2013, a registered nurse spotted a lump on the neck of Flip or Flop host Tarek El Moussa.

After she emailed the show’s producers, he went for tests and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 31. His thyroid was removed and he went through thyroid radioactive iodine therapy. The treatments worked, and his cancer went into remission.

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Researchers say thyroid cancers overdiagnosed in Canada for 3 out of 4 patients – Aug 16, 2017