A mom who battled thyroid cancer at age 27 has revealed the symptoms she ignored for weeks before her diagnosis, from dry skin to brittle hair.
Christina McKnight, now 35, thought little of the signs for weeks and was only diagnosed after her husband, Matthew Mcknight, 36, “forced” her to see a doctor.
In the fall of 2014, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer despite having no family history and being “young, fit and healthy”.
Christina – who now has a five-year-old son – thought her symptoms were caused by stress after she got a promotion at her job at a commercial bank.
However, her fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, and brittle hair were all signs of something far more sinister.
Christina, a content creator, from Oklahoma City, USA, said, “It was one of those things that I never thought would happen to me.
“I was young, fit and healthy. I had just run a half marathon, done CrossFit for three years and had no hereditary thyroid disease in the family.
“I was just starting to feel really tired and had a lot of brain fog, but I thought it was just my promotion.
“Then my husband noticed how tired I was and my lack of interest in things like the gym, which I normally love.
“I couldn’t get things done the way I used to. I would have to go to work on Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.
Christina said she started noticing her hair was getting “weird brittle” while her skin was getting drier.
“I kept brushing it all off,” she said.
“My husband knew something wasn’t right and got me to book a doctor’s appointment – which I canceled twice because I had too much on my mind. I ended up going to the doctor mainly to appease him.
“I said my symptoms were because I wasn’t taking care of myself — I ate fast food and was stressed at work.
“Fortunately, my doctor recognized my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed thyroid cancer in others.
“He felt my neck and found a lump I wasn’t even aware of and got the ball rolling with the diagnosis.”
Christina then had an ultrasound and a biopsy that revealed she had thyroid cancer.
At first, Christina was hesitant to accept the diagnosis because her thyroid would need to be removed.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces vital hormones that regulate metabolism, energy levels, heart rate and body temperature.
As an athlete and runner, Christina was hesitant to go through with the procedure, so she got a second opinion that also confirmed she had thyroid cancer.
She underwent a thyroidectomy in November 2014, followed by radioactive iodine ablation treatment in January to remove any remnants of her thyroid gland.
A year later, she was all cleared, but has to receive thyroid replacement injections to replace her lost hormones.
Christina, sharing her experience with her 102,000 followers on TikTok, said: “It was very surreal because cancer is such a big word.
“It was such a shock and I thought this couldn’t be done, it was a strange feeling.
“They often say that thyroid cancer occurs in older people and that it is hereditary, but that was not the case with me.
“I’m sharing my story, not to scare people, but to remind them to pay attention if you experience changes and to see a doctor.
“Listen to the people around you if they notice changes in you, sometimes they see things in us that we don’t.
“Fortunately I am fine and my husband got me to see a doctor, but I never thought fatigue and dry hair was cancer.
“It’s so important to be aware of these lesser-known symptoms and not assume it wouldn’t happen to you. Listen to those around you and listen for changes in your body — it could save your life.”