EXCLUSIVE: How ex-Big Brother star Bree Amer discovered she had CANCER after a viewer noticed a worrying detail about her on the show
Former Big Brother star Bree Amer has recalled the incredible way she discovered she had thyroid cancer back in 2006.
Bree, who appeared on TV almost seven days a week during her time on the reality series in 2004 – and later returned as a host on Big Brother Friday Night Live in 2005 – credits an avid viewer for bringing her attention to the problem.
The 37-year-old told Daily Mail Australia that a doctor from Wollongong had noticed a worrying detail about her appearance while watching the show and desperately tried to alert her.
EXCLUSIVE: Big Brother star Bree Amer (pictured in 2006) has revealed she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006 after a viewer spent $400 trying to get in touch with her to express concerns about her health
Bree explained that the doctor had spent almost $400 calling through to Mike Goldman’s Up Late show’s competition line at the time to voice his concerns.
‘When I turned my head on the [Friday Night Live] panel, a lump protruded out of my neck – I had an inch and a half tumor that I never noticed,’ Bree recalled.
The reality TV star, who was 24 at the time, said she never noticed the lump and was impressed by the doctor’s eagle-eyed observation.
‘When I turned my head on the [Friday Night Live] panel, a lump protruded out of my neck’: Bree had a tumor that measured one-and-a-half inches removed from her neck via two surgeries and radioactive iodine treatment. Pictured on Big Brother’s Friday Night Live
‘I was really lucky he got in touch!’ While Bree says she is well and truly out of the woods when it comes to cancer, her thyroid still needs monitoring with checkups every six months
What is thyroid cancer?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped glad at the base of the neck that produces hormones to regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.
Thyroid cancer often causes a painless lump or swelling low down in the front of the neck, but some sufferers display no symptoms.
While the cause of thyroid cancer is not known, research suggests it may involve genetic and environmental factors.
Treatments include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation and chemotherapy.
See your GP if you have a swelling or lump at the front of your neck. While it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to get it checked out.
Rarely, thyroid cancer can affect the production of thyroid hormones and cause diarrhoea and flushing.
‘He saw it and I came back a year later and it was bigger… he tried to get in contact with me for like a year,’ Bree claimed.
Coincidentally, one of Bree’s former housemates walked into the same doctor’s surgery one day and was asked to pass on his concerns to Bree directly.
‘I thought he was a bit bonkers to start off with,’ she joked, but said when she brought it up during her next GP appointment, her real doctor was quick to act.
‘Eventually I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had two surgeries, and radioactive iodine treatment. I was really lucky he got in touch!’ she said.
While Bree says she is ‘well and truly out of the woods when it comes to cancer’, her thyroid still needs monitoring with checkups every six months.
Flashback! Bree was one of the most memorable contestants from the 2004 season of Big Brother Australia. Pictured with host Gretel Killeen (left) and winner Trevor Butler (right)
Speaking on the On The Mike podcast in October 2018, Bree explained how she had been able to transition from a reality TV contestant to a behind-the-scenes producer.
‘I started as low down as I possibly could. I was just always interested in producing,’ she said.
She worked in street casting for the show World’s Strictest Parents, before being hired to find contestants for My Kitchen Rules.
Bree helped produce five seasons of MKR and has also worked on The Bachelor, Zumbo’s Just Desserts and Bringing Sexy Back.
Her husband, Evan Wilkes, recently produced Channel Seven’s Bride and Prejudice.
Bree and Evan are now proud parents to three-year-old son Hunter and 11-month-old daughter Harlow.
Family life: Bree and her husband, fellow TV producer Evan Wilkes, are now proud parents to three-year-old son Hunter and 11-month-old daughter Harlow (all pictured)