‘Strange’ moment TV viewer saved reporter
A TELEVISION journalist had no idea she had a potentially deadly cyst on her throat until a viewer sent her a "strange" message.
Mother-of-two and Network Ten reporter Antoinette Lattouf was going about her usual segment on Studio 10 last Friday when her editor later called her over to discuss a message the program had received on its official Facebook page.
"Has Antoinette Lattouf had her thyroid checked? I am not being smart or trolling just concerned with what I saw on TV today?" the private message read.
The viewer - Wendy McCoy from Werribee, Victoria - admitted she wasn't a doctor but was genuinely concerned with the lump protruding from Lattouf's neck.
"No medical but reminded me of my friends. On her left side of neck," Ms McCoy wrote.
"I felt concerned and thought I should say something."
When she saw the message, Lattouf watched back her television segment in which she discussed artist Kyle Montgomery's controversial sculptures of the Virgin Mary.
"I was taken aback and must admit at first I scoffed at the message. Then I watched the clip back," Lattouf said, writing for 10 daily.
To her disbelief she noticed a large lump on the side of her neck.
"I was left shocked. It looked like I had an Adam's apple. Something was definitely protruding from my neck," she said.
Lattouf said she had a family history of thyroid cancer and decided to see her GP.
"Three blood tests, an ultrasound and a CT scan later, it turns out Wendy was the real McCoy and I have a large cyst that needs surgery as well as an auto-immune disease," she said.
The journalist explained that her cyst, just above her voice box, was benign (not cancerous) but could interfere with her ability to breathe, speak and swallow if it was not treated.
"This condition most commonly begins when you're a child, and as the cyst grows and protrudes, it starts to put pressure on other vital structures in the neck," Lattouf said.
"Women are at more at risk, and if untreated or misdiagnosed, thyroid illnesses can impact mental health, weight, hair and nails, fatigue, voice, muscle strength, bone health, heart rate and in some cases result in death."
Lattouf said after her diagnosis she spoke to the viewer who told the journalist she was close to not saying anything because she didn't want to seem to be "interfering or meddling".
"But then I thought 'bugger it' because it stood out like a dog's hind leg," Ms McCoy told Lattouf.
"To Wendy, I say, thank you for caring enough to reach out to me, a complete stranger, and urging me to see a doctor," Lattouf said.
"Your random act of kindness probably saved my career."
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So a viewer wrote in today expressing concern over the size of my thyroid and suggested I go and see a doctor. I was a little startled by the feedback, but it was done out of genuine concern, and looking at these pictures, my thyroid does look quite pronounced! (I promise it’s not an Adam’s apple). My family has a history of thyroid issues including from hypothyroidism to thyroid cancer so I’ve made a doctors appointment. It wouldn’t be the first time there has been a diagnosis via TV audience. Thank you for caring lovely Wendy!
It's not the first time a viewer has spotted something worrying on a celebrity's neck.
Back in 2009, Network 10 reality television personality Bree Amer (formerly Big Brother, but co-hosting Friday Night Live at the time) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after a viewer, who was also a doctor, noticed a large lump protruding from her neck.
Subsequently, Amer had two operations to remove it.
Lattouf signed off her article with a plea for people to get checked if they notice a lump on their neck.