‘Instagram influencer’s posts about cancer worried me – I realized I should have pushed harder to get a diagnosis,’ says mum-of-two

‘Instagram influencer’s posts about cancer worried me – I realized I should have pushed harder to get a diagnosis,’ says mum-of-two

Sophie Ranson, whose thyroid cancer went undiagnosed for months during some of the worst moments of the pandemic, might have spent more than a year on a hospital waiting list for a scan had it not been for her persistence and influencer. from Instagram.

he French mother of two young children, who has lived in Ireland since she was 20, discovered she had a small lump in her neck in November 2020 after her GP spotted it during a routine check-up.

“It was barely noticeable and I had a blood test for my thyroid function. He appeared normal, he was unaffected,” said the 38-year-old, who lives in Glasnevin.

Ms. Ranson was placed on a non-urgent waiting list for an ultrasound at Beaumont Hospital, but her appointment was not until March 2022, 15 months later.

It is now clear that many patients, not only with suspected cancer but with other illnesses, in 2020 in particular, delayed care for various reasons, including their fear of COVID-19. At that time there was still no vaccine available and a health service in crisis.

“I had put my health insurance on hold during the pandemic. I didn’t feel bad, but I continued to worry for the next six months,” she said.

“I was following an influencer on Instagram who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had a lump similar to mine. I realized that maybe I hadn’t pushed or prioritized enough.”

She resumed her health insurance and returned to her GP, who referred her to a specialist at Bons Secours Hospital in May.

He had an ultrasound in late July and two nodules were found, with concern for one in particular that had a 40% chance of being cancerous.

“I was sent for surgery to remove the right lobe of my thyroid in September, where I spent three days in the hospital. Fortunately, the cancerous growth was contained to the thyroid and the cancer had not spread.”

He later underwent surgery on the second nodule on the other side of his neck, which also turned out to be cancerous.

Ms. Ranson was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer, which occurs in the gland that produces hormones that control metabolism. More surgery followed in March of this year.

“The medical team was confident that they had removed the tumors and that it has not spread. Some patients are sent for radioactive iodine therapy, but within a few months the decision was made that it was not necessary in my case.”

Throughout the grueling months, she was careful to use reliable and trustworthy sources of information and was recommended by the Irish Cancer Society.

“I am very grateful that my GP found the lump. I can see how people might have put off seeking medical help during the pandemic or felt overly dramatic if there didn’t seem to be a major reason to be.

“But it is very important to push if you are worried. The whole time has been very stressful and there was the added pressure of having to isolate myself to make sure I didn’t get covid-19.”

She added: “Thyroid cancer was not on my radar. He had no acute symptoms and was working from home as a senior e-commerce manager as of November 2020.”

He came to Ireland when there were many marketing jobs and has now made it his home.

The road to recovery left her feeling tired with low energy levels at first.

However, now she feels normal and is taking hormonal medications that are working well for her.

“I’ll get checkups every six months,” he said.

His advice to others is to not let Covid-19 or other distractions keep you from seeking help.

He said he was lucky to have private health insurance.

The report from Ireland’s National Cancer Registry, which tracks registered cancers, found that one in eight cancers, expected to be diagnosed in 2020, went undiagnosed that year.

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