This doctor detected a woman's cancerous lump while watching her on HGTV

Elizabeth Di Filippo

An American doctor is making headlines after he tracked down a woman he saw on television to tell her to get tested for thyroid cancer.

Dr. Erich Voigt was watching an episode of HGTV’s “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” when he spotted a lump on the neck of a woman on screen.

Erich Voigt posted a clip of this video to Facebook. <i>(Facebook/Erich Voigt)</i>
Erich Voigt posted a clip of this video to Facebook. (Facebook/Erich Voigt)

Voigt, an otolaryngologist from New York City, specializes in ear, nose and throat diseases as well as the head and neck. After watching the episode, he immediately took to Facebook to see if there was any way he could connect with the woman on the show.

I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass,” he posted on Facebook along with a clip from the show. “She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy. I wonder if she knows and hope it’s benign.”

At the suggestion of one of his followers, Voigt emailed the show’s producers to try to track down the woman. In the meantime, his post was shared with someone who was able to put in him touch with the woman on screen, Nicole McGuinness.

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The woman was notified by people who saw my post, amazing power of Facebook! She was not aware of the mass. She is now getting the appropriate tests! Let’s hope for a good outcome,” wrote Voigt.

Dr. Erich Voigt <i>(Photo via Facebook)</i>
Dr. Erich Voigt (Photo via Facebook)

McGuinness, who resides in North Carolina, went to her doctor for testing. Biopsy results confirmed Voight’s suspicions: the lump was thyroid cancer.

Voigt shared an update with followers who had become invested in his search.

She was unaware that she had a mass. Her doctors had never noticed it,” he wrote. “She went for the sonogram and biopsy I recommended. She just let me know … the biopsy revealed thyroid cancer. She will be seeing a surgeon and getting appropriate treatment and I hope she will be cured!”

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In an interview with ABC News, McGuiness said it was “a miracle” that Voigt was watching the show.

“I can’t express how grateful and thankful I am,” she told reporters.

Voigt says he “felt obliged” to let her know about the lump, and thanked “the power of Facebook” for allowing him to get in contact with McGuinness.

Perhaps more medical professionals should be checking out HGTV for patients.

In 2013, a registered nurse reached out to Tarek El Moussa, the host of the network’s show Flip or Flop after she noticed a lump on his neck. After her suggestion, El Moussa visited his doctor was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which was treated with surgery and thyroid radioactive iodine therapy.

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