“I need to have a thyroidectomy, which means that I’m going to have a nice big scar right here across my neck,” the 41-year-old “Dancing With the Stars” co-host said in a video.
Burke-Charvet said the tiny nodule on her thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of her neck, was spotted during a routine physical. An initial biopsy was inconclusive, but follow-up tests revealed the lump was cancerous.
“I never ever ever thought I was going to get that phone call with bad news,” she said, adding that it took a couple of months to get her head in the right place. “I’m ready to deal with it, and I’m going to be fine.”
More than 56,000 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. But fewer than 1,800 Americans die from the disease annually.
“Doctors say this is a good kind of cancer to have,” Burke-Charvet said in her video. “Good cancer — that sounds so crazy! But my doctor did tell me that this is a happily-ever-after kind of thing.”
The most common treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to remove the gland. But radiation therapy, in the form of x-ray beams or radioactive iodine pills absorbed by the thyroid, may also be used, according to the NIH.
Because the thyroid makes hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight, Burke-Charvet will have to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of her life.
“I guess the truth is, I’m always so used to being in control and taking care of everybody and all my kids, and now I find myself in this really out-of-control situation,” Burke-Charvet, a mother of four, said in her video. “I’m going to be a really good patient and I’m going to do everything that I need to do.”
The date of Burke-Charvet’s thyroidectomy has not been made public. It’s also unclear whether she’ll also undergo radiation therapy.
“I feel really good, and I’ve actually never felt better and that’s what’s so crazy about this whole thing,” she said. “I’m just going to make a positive out of this negative thing.”