North Carolina Woman Diagnosed with Cancer After Doctor in New York City Spots Lump During HGTV Appearance
"It's just a miracle."
When Dr. Erich Voigt, a New York-based ear, nose and throat surgeon, sat down to watch HGTV's Beachfront Bargain Hunt at his home in Long Island, New York, a few weeks ago, he never thought it would lead to saving a life.
The episode featured 32-year-old Nicole McGuinness, who, after successfully beating brain cancer, was on a quest to accomplish her longtime dream of buying a house on the beach in South Carolina.
She had no idea her left thyroid gland had other plans.
"I noticed that she had a lump in her neck," Voigt told ABC News. "And as a head and neck surgeon, I'm trained to sort of notice these things."
Voigt knew it could be serious, and that the woman needed to see a doctor. There was just one problem: he had no idea who she was, and the program didn't mention her last name.
So Voigt turned to Facebook. He posted a clip from the episode that showed the mystery woman, and asked his friends if anyone knew how to get in touch with her.
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More than 7,000 views later, the post finally reached McGuinness in Havelock, North Carolina. She took Dr. Voigt's advice and saw a specialist. After a biopsy, McGuinness was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Over the weekend Voigt returned to Facebook with a follow up, praising the "awesome power of Facebook and good people!"
"She just let me know… the biopsy revealed thyroid cancer," he wrote. "She will be seeing a surgeon and getting appropriate treatment and I hope she will be cured!"
"It's just a miracle in my opinion that he happened to see this on TV," McGuinness told ABC News. "I can't express how grateful I am."
This week, on Tuesday's episode of Good Morning America, the two met for the first time.
"Dr. Voght, I'm going to try to say this without getting emotional," McGuinness said after sitting down next to him. "I have gone through a lot these last couple of years, and never expected to have to be a two-time cancer survivor, but without you keeping a vigilant eye and watching that television show, who knows how long I would have gone on without that being checked. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. You have no idea."