‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Sofia Vergara Opens Up About Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis at Age 28

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

“America’s Got Talent” judge Sofia Vergara’s thyroid cancer diagnosis at 28 came as a scare, but she said she feels lucky to have caught cancer early.

Recently, Vergara spoke to Today and opened up about it during a Stand Up To Cancer telecast. The 49-year-old Vergara said her doctor discovered her cancer on a routine visit. 

The “Modern Family” star said, “her doctor felt a lump in my neck.” After a lot of tests, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000. Vergara said the news surprised her, but she focused on learning more about the diagnosis to combat any panic or despair she might have. 

“I read every book and found out everything I could about it,” Sofia Vergara said.

Additionally, she kept the news under wrap. After beating the thyroid cancer, she told Health.com because she didn’t want any attention while going through treatment. During that time, she had her thyroid gland removed and has committed to taking a daily thyroid hormone pill. 

“I feel very lucky,” Sofia Vergara told the outlet. “In a lot of women, the cancer isn’t found until around menopause, and by then, it’s too late.”

For Sofia Vergara, Americans, Thyroid Cancer Rates On Rise

According to the National Institutes of Health, thyroid cancer incidents have tripled between 1973 and 2009. The agency also said rates have been increasing by 6 percent each year over the past two decades. Older adults with Medicare health care coverage at 65 are getting the diagnosis at a higher rate (nine percent yearly). 

“I was fortunate to have caught it early and to have the support of my doctors and most importantly, my family,” Sofia Vergara said during the Stand Up to Cancer telecast. 

According to the American Cancer Society, this type of cancer is more common in women, and detection for adults comes at earlier ages. Factors also weigh into thyroid cancer like family history, obesity, and radiation exposure.

With the pandemic in full force, many health care professionals have stressed regular screenings. Missing appointments can lead to late diagnoses for cancer and other illnesses.

Sofia Vergara said that that team spirit would be needed to “end cancer.”

“We’re better together, and if we’re going to end cancer, it’s going to require a team effort,” she said.

Sofia Vergara co-hosted the Stand Up to Cancer event for the organization, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research. Katie Couric co-founded the charity in 2008. 

Couric lost her husband, Jay, to colorectal cancer in 1998. He was 42. She also said her older sister died years later after a bout with pancreatic cancer. She died at 54.

Oprah Winfrey, Rod Stewart, Hilary Clinton, Kim Cattrall, Bernie Sanders, and other celebrities have battled thyroid cancer. 

Actress Reese Witherspoon was one of the executive producers on the special. She spoke out about the need to fight cancer.

“Unfortunately cancer touches all of us,” Witherspoon said. “We’ve all got a story to share. Every day from every corner of this country, we lose 1,670 people to cancer.”