The world of social media is many things, but one thing it is not reputable for is its potential to actually save lives.
TikTok viewers pretty much extended a lifeline to TikToker Seattle Tech Bro, a.k.a. @seattletechbro, after they alerted him to get his swollen thyroid examined for cancer.
In the comments of one of his videos, a follower told him, "Your thyroid looks a bit swollen. You might want to get that checked," to which another user concurred and said, "I was looking for this comment, thank you!"
Another concerned TikToker contacted him through his private messages and wrote:
"Hey! Enjoying your videos. Sorry if this is overstepping. Your thyroid looks a bit swollen, please get it checked."
"Usually it's just an enlarged thyroid but sometimes it's thyroid cancer."
Seattle Tech Bro, whose channel specializes in "tech, finances, and career progression in a no-judgment zone," confirmed his fellow TikTokers' suspicions in a follow-up video.
"TikTok told me I might have cancer," he said, diving right in.
"It seems that they were right."
so yeah that was a wild experience #cancer #tiktok
For the uninitiated, he explained:
"My first couple of TikTok videos were just me talking about my budget, and people commented or DM'd me saying that my thyroid looked a little enlarged and that I should get it checked out and that it could be cancerous."
"Out of an abundance of caution and just because I get anxious about these sorts of things, I went ahead and got it checked out," he said.
After several tests and ultrasounds, doctors discovered there was a 95% chance the nodule on his thyroid was cancerous.
The 22-year-old was presented with the next course of action.
"I had two options. I could either take out my entire thyroid, or I could just take out the cancerous bit."
He chose to go with taking out the "cancerous bit in the middle" since he didn't want to take synthetic thyroid hormone medication on a daily basis for the rest of his life.
"It is quite hard to talk. It kind of drains me to talk so much."
The video received just under a million views, and the comments section was flooded with followers wishing him a speedy recovery.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the throat near the trachea (windpipe), and it usually cannot be felt through the skin.
According to The National Cancer Institute, "Thyroid cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the thyroid gland."
Risk factors for thyroid cancer include being between the ages of 25 and 65 years old, being female, and having a family history of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
The website states that, while thyroid nodules are quite common and rarely cancerous, thyroid cancer is treatable and can be cured "in many cases."