The First Thing Sofía Vergara Did When She Was Diagnosed With Thyroid Cancer
The actor opened up about her experience being diagnosed at age 28.
At the latest Stand Up To Cancer TV fundraiser, Sofía Vergara got very personal. As one of the co-hosts of the telecast, Vergara was helping to raise money for cancer research. The actor also opened up about her own experience being diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 28 years old. Now 49, Vergara is a cancer survivor. During the event, the Modern Family star shared the first thing she did after finding out she had cancer.
This is not the first time Vergara has opened up about having thyroid cancer and how it changed her life. Read on to see what she's shared about her experience over the years and on the Stand Up To Cancer special.
She found out that she had cancer after taking her son to an endocrinologist.
Vergara's journey to finding out she had thyroid cancer began when she took her son, Manolo Gonzalez Vergara, to an appointment with an endocrinologist. "Because I have a family history of type 1 diabetes—my five siblings have it—I know what its like to have injections every day and to have craziness happen to your body," Vergara told Health in 2011. "So I took my son to an endocrinologist to be checked out early. While we were there, the doctor wanted to check me, too, and he found a lump in my neck." This was in 2000, when Manolo would have been around eight and Vergara was 28. After doing some testing, Vergara found out she had thyroid cancer.
She had her thyroid gland removed.
Vergara had her thyroid gland removed and then underwent iodine radiation to remove the rest of the cancer. During that treatment, the actor told WebMD in 2013, "Not even the nurses could come close. They practically throw you your food through a hole in the door."
Vergara also has to take thyroid hormone medication every day to regulate her levels since she no longer has her thyroid gland. "I have to take it without any food, and then I sit there counting the minutes for half an hour until I can have my coffee!" she told WebMD "I get my blood levels checked every three to six months to make sure my thyroid levels are good."
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The first thing she did was educate herself.
In the new Stand Up To Cancer special, Vergara explained that after getting diagnosed, she made it her mission to learn as much as she could about thyroid cancer. "When you're young and you hear that word 'cancer,' your mind goes to so many places but I tried not to panic and I decided to get educated," she said during the special, as reported by People. "I read every book and found out everything I could about it. I was fortunate to have caught it early and to have the support of my doctors and most importantly, my family. I learned a lot during that time, not just about thyroid cancer but I also learned that in times of crisis, we're better together."
Vergara also talked about educating herself in the WebMD interview. "I was young," the Modern Family star said. "I had a young son. But I tried not to panic. I decided to take charge and inform myself. Of course, I couldn't Google thyroid cancer from the comfort of my house back then, so I went to bookstores and found out everything I could about it."
She also has helped others who are experiencing cancer.
Outside of her work with Stand Up To Cancer, Vergara has also provided support to her home country of Colombia. According to a 2007 interview with WebMD, she helped create and fund Peace and Hope for Children of Colombia, which opened a new pediatric cancer pavilion at a hospital in Barranquilla.
"I visited the cancer ward of a hospital in Colombia, and parents were just sitting on the floor while their kids were being treated," Vergara told Health. When you're a mother and your kid is sick, you feel it yourself. I want to set up a comfortable place for parents."
Thyroid cancer is highly treatable.
According to WebMD, thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when it is caught early. Many patients do not notice symptoms—Vergara said her only symptom was the lump that was found—but symptoms can include neck or throat pain, a lump in the neck, cough, difficulty swallowing, and vocal changes or hoarseness.
"I feel great and I am really on top of it," Vergara told WebMD in 2007. "Young women should be informed about thyroid cancer because you can have it without symptoms, but an endocrinologist can check your thyroid easily."