Jessie Slater built her name in the Duluth, MN news scene; she acted as a news anchor, as well as a producer, at KBJR-TV from 2017 to 2022. After stepping down from her role last year, Slater undertook a new media specialist role at Maurices, a women’s clothing store. But Slater chose, recently, to report her own story, continuing her legacy. According to Declan Desmond of Bring Me The News, Slater shared on social media that she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
On September 11, 2023, Slater explained in a Twitter post that she had pursued treatment for a number of symptoms she had been experiencing. This led to her diagnosis. At the time of diagnosis, Slater also learned that the cancer had spread to a nearby lymph node. Thyroid cancer may be locally affective (i.e., also affecting the lymph nodes) but often does not spread elsewhere in the body.
Of course, receiving a cancer diagnosis was a major shock. But as she reflects on her diagnosis and upcoming treatment path, Slater feels hopeful. Hopeful that she’ll survive. Hopeful that she’ll emerge stronger than ever. And hopeful that she can help others to know that they are not alone in their fight.
If she can get across one thing from her story, Slater hopes to encourage others to be aware of their own health. Since September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to learn about thyroid cancer from leading experts—and make sure to get checked by your doctors if you are concerned.
Understanding Thyroid Cancer
Your thyroid gland sits at the base of the throat and plays a role in regulating various bodily processes. By producing hormones, the thyroid helps to control your weight, temperature, heart rate, and even blood pressure. Thyroid cancer occurs when tumors form in the thyroid. There are different forms of thyroid cancer depending on where the cancer begins. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common form, but there are also rare forms such as follicular, anaplastic, and medullary. Although doctors don’t know what causes this cancer to form, there are known risk factors, such as:
- Being female
- Head and neck radiation exposure
- Having certain genetic diseases such as multiple endocrine neoplasia types 2A or 2B
- A family history of thyroid cancer
It can be difficult to diagnose thyroid cancer in early stages; many people may not show symptoms until the cancer progresses. When symptoms appear, these can include:
- Difficulty swallowing and/or breathing
- A mass or lump in the neck
- Voice changes such as hoarseness
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Neck/throat pain and inflammation
- Chronic cough
Current treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, thyroid hormone therapy, alcohol ablation, targeted therapy, or surgical resection. Additional research is being performed into more effective therapeutic options.