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Doctor Saves Reality TV Contestant’s Life After Spotting Strange Lump On Her Neck

To the untrained viewer, Nicole McGuinness looked the picture of health when she appeared on television. With a beaming smile, dark hair and immaculately applied makeup, the 32-year-old looked like a young woman on the up.

But one doctor watching knew simply from looking at her that there was trouble brewing - and may have saved her life with his quick-thinking actions.

Nicole McGuinness and her father were appearing on the show Beachfront Bargains, looking for a home to celebrate the fact that she had just been given the all-clear from cancer.

Nicole had just won her fight against stage 4 glioblastoma, a rare and incredibly aggressive cancer that usually affects people in their 60s and which has a five-year survival rate of just 10%. It is the same form of the disease that Senator John McCain is currently battling.

But watching at home Dr. Erich Voigt, a New York surgeon became concerned about this young stranger, having spotted a concerning lump, about the size of a strawberry, on her neck.

And if anyone should know when something doesn't look right, it's Voight; he's racked up almost 20 years of experience as an ear, nose and throat doctor and surgeon: "As a head and neck surgeon, I'm trained to notice these things," he explained to ABC News.

Fearing that it could be another tumor, he took to Facebook to track her down, posting the message: "I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass. She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy I wonder if she knows and hope it's benign."

Astonishingly, the warning reached her despite the fact that Nicole does not actually use the site herself; it was a friend of her mother that spotted the message.

The doctor later posted an update, celebrating the power of social media and saying: "I hope she will be cured! Awesome power of Facebook and good people!"

Already understanding first-hand the devastating and life-threatening impact consequences that cancer can have, Nicole wasted no time in visiting a cancer specialist in North Carolina, who performed tests.

Unfortunately, the news was not the reassurance that she had hoped for, with doctors instead confirming that she was now suffering from thyroid cancer.

A small gland at the base of the neck, the thyroid produces hormones that can affect metabolic rates and impact everything from energy levels to temperature regulation. In the US, there are over 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed every single year, over 40,000 of these in women.

Reflecting on her initial reaction when she first received a cancer warning via Facebook: "We were sort of in shock, we did not expect a doctor, on television, from states away that we did not know to come up with some kind of diagnosis".

With a diagnosis made, Nicole was able to embark on the treatment that will hopefully save her life for a second time, with radiation, chemotherapy and perhaps surgery.

The good news is that when diagnosed at stage 3 or lower the survival rates for thyroid cancer are an impressive 81%, much better odds than glioblastoma.

The two met for the first time on ABC's Good Morning America, where Nicole was able to thank the doctor for saving her life in a heartwarming exchange: "I'm going to try to say this without getting emotional. I have gone through a lot these last couple of years and never expected to have to be a cancer survivor twice, 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."

Here is the emotional moment Nicole and Dr. Voigt met for the first time:

While social media gets a lot of criticism, in this case, it has proved to be a force for incredible good, helping one quick-thinking stranger to potentially save the life of a young woman with everything to live for.