Valley women raise awareness about thyroid cancer

FRESNO, Calif.

These Valley women share a bond that hardly anyone else can understand. They're all thyroid cancer survivors who meet at a Northeast Fresno library to share their stories.

Denise Grayson said, "Thankfully because of the support group, I've had positive things, and people to lean on."

Grayson of Fresno was diagnosed last year, while her husband was serving in the military, overseas. He was able to come home, just before she underwent treatment.

"He made it home within two hours of my surgery," Grayson said. "And it was something where I was trying to get him home and wasn't facing the fact that I had cancer. So I had surgery."

Surgery, radioactive iodine treatments and painful side effects are just some of the issues these survivors felt had stayed in the shadow of other, more well-known and high-profile cancers, until now.

Brook Burke said in a YouTube video, "I got my results back and they were not good and I need to have thyroid surgery and a thyroidectomy."

After Dancing with the Stars co-host Brook Burke made the announcement of her diagnosis on her YouTube blog, awareness about thyroid cancer, instantly grew.

Fresno Endocrinologist, Dr. Saima Crockett says Burke is helping educate people about the disease and the importance of getting their thyroid checked during their routine physicals.

Dr. Saima Crockett said, "When they go to their health care provider on a routine exam, the provider may feel a growth, the patient may notice it or in other cases, they're having imaging done on their neck for other reasons.

While thyroid cancer is treatable, survivors say it's often mis-labeled as a "good cancer" and they're hoping more awareness leads to a better understanding of the disease.

Grayson said, "A person in the media can really do a lot of good for people like us who are just sitting in a room in a library in Fresno and give hope to people who are newly diagnosed and don't know what that means for them."

And for these survivors, awareness, early detection and support, mean everything.

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