We can always expect Sofia Vergara to put a smile on our face when she pops up on screen, but the actress wasn’t cracking any jokes at her most recent appearance. Instead, she opened up about her thyroid cancer diagnosis in her late 20s to raise awareness for others fighting their own cancer battles.
“At 28 years old during a routine doctor’s visit, my doctor felt a lump in my neck. They did a lot of tests and finally told me that I had thyroid cancer,” Vergara said during the Stand Up to Cancer telethon over the weekend. “When you’re young and you hear that word, ‘cancer,’ your mind goes to so many places. But I tried not to panic and I decided to get educated. I read every book and found out everything I could about it.”
Vergara, now 49, shared that she was lucky to catch it early and, with the support of her doctors and family, was able to beat it. “I learned a lot during that time, not just about thyroid cancer, but I also learned that in times of crisis we’re better together.”
The Modern Family actress doesn’t discuss her cancer battle often, but revealed to Health magazine back in 2011 that she was actually at a doctor’s appointment for her son (who was 10 at the time) when they discovered the lump.
“Because I have a family history of type 1 diabetes — my five siblings have it — I know what it’s like to have injections every day and to have craziness happen to your body,” she explained. “So I took my son to an endocrinologist to be checked out early. While we were there, the doctor wanted to check me, too, and he found a lump in my neck.”
Vergara admitted she was anxious about surgery to remove the cancer and her thyroid gland because she felt no other symptoms, but ultimately went through with it. She also underwent iodine radiation treatments. “When you go through something like this, it’s hard, but you learn a lot from it,” she said of the ordeal. “Your priorities change. You don’t sweat the small stuff.”