Demi Jones on Her Cancer Weight Gain
- Love Island star Demi Jones, 23, says she gained weight during thyroid cancer treatment and is in no rush to lose the added weight.
- Thyroid cancer is a disease that begins in the thyroid gland, which is at the base of the neck. The cancer will often present itself as a large bump (tumor) in the neck.
- Healthy eating and exercise can positively impact a cancer battle.
“I’m happy with the way I am.”
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Demi Jone’s Cancer & Understanding Thyroid Cancer
Reflecting on her cancer-related weight gain, Jones tells The Daily Mail, “I’m on medication to replace my thyroid because I’ve not got one anymore, but the medication is hormonal, so I’ve had lots of mood changes and I’m trying to control my weight, so I feel a bit like a teenager again.”
She continues, “I put on over a stone. I’m progressively losing it, but I’m not in a rush. I’m happy with the way I am.”
Jones discovered her thyroid cancer as a result of Love Island viewers calling attention to a lump spotted on her neck. She saw a doctor and was then diagnosed with the disease.
After her diagnosis, Jones had successful surgery in April 2021 to remove her tumor. But even though the surgery was successful, she would still need additional treatment to ensure the removal of cancer cells. She then underwent radiation treatment for that process. Jones has said that she hopes her thyroid cancer experience will inspire others to check their bodies for lumps and to act quickly if they notice something unusual.
Thyroid cancer is a disease that begins in the thyroid gland, which is at the base of the neck. The cancer will often present itself as a large bump (tumor) in the neck. It remains unclear what causes the disease. Some symptoms of thyroid cancer can be mistaken for a common cold.
Dr. Scott Strome, a head and neck cancer surgeon who is currently the dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and previously was chair of head and neck surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained thyroid cancer in a previous interview with SurvivorNet.
“We’re now able to detect thyroid disease, thyroid cancers, much earlier than we used to be able to,” he says. “We tend to see it predominantly in younger women, but it can occur in both men and women. In most cases, I tell my patients that, ‘Your thyroid cancer is a barnacle on the ship of life.’”
Still, he suggests finding an experienced thyroid expert for treatment.
“Folks who have thyroid cancer, they need to go to a really experienced thyroid setting and have folks who really understand the disease. Those are for the most indolent type of thyroid cancers, called papillary,” he says. “Thyroid cancer is a pretty interesting disease, because papillary is a really indolent cancer. On the other end of the spectrum, you have what’s called anaplastic thyroid cancer, which may be one of (if not the) most aggressive cancers that we see. So it’s a whole spectrum of disease.”
Treatments for thyroid cancer can include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation, and chemotherapy. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include the following:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
Healthy Eating Through Cancer
It’s important to do what you can to eat healthily and move your body through cancer to the degree you’re able. This said, people cope with emotional upheaval, like a cancer diagnosis, in all sorts of ways, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Some people, like Jones, may find comfort in turning to food to cope, and that’s perfectly okay. Be sure to get your needed nutrients as well.
Marisa Gholson, a Physicians Assistant at Compass Oncology, spoke with SurvivorNet in a previous interview about the role of food during cancer treatment. She says, “We get questions all the time about whether they should cut out dairy or sugar or soy. And basically what I tell patients is that you should eat a well-balanced diet.”
Gholson says, “There’s not great evidence that cutting out sugar or dairy or soy is going to slow down or reverse the growth of your cancer. So I think just making sure that you’re getting the nutrition that you need.”
She says that due to some cancer treatments, like chemo, some people may lose their appetite during their cancer journey. “One of the side effects of chemo can be a loss of appetite,” Gholson explains. “You can also taste changes. So when those side effects occur, I tell patients just to try and eat whatever tastes good and to supplement with nutritional shakes like Ensure or Boost, just to make sure that they’re getting the nutrition that they need to make it through treatment.”
“Everything in moderation,” she says.