HOLLYOAKS’ Abi Phillips has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, after suffering one key symptom.

The 28-year-old took to Instagram claiming doctors had initially said she was “too young” to have the disease.

But the diagnosis came after the singer-songwriter and actress – who played Liberty Savage in the Channel 4 soap – sought a second opinion.

She urged others to push for answers if they are concerned about symptoms.

Abi found lumps – one of the key signs of cancer – in her neck.

But she claims doctors had “sent her away”, passing it off as a side effect of an infection or cold.

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All there is to know about Abi Phillips and what type of cancer she has

Only around one in 20 lumps in the neck are cancer, the NHS says, but it’s always important to get it checked out.

Abi wrote: “They'd passed it off and said I was 'young' and it wouldn't be anything.”

But Abi was cautious that she had lumps similar to Love Island’s Demi Jones’, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2021.

“I wouldn’t have taken things further with seeing a specialist if I hadn’t seen @demijones1 post as her lumps were in the exact same place as mine,” she said.

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“I wanted to get everything checked for my own peace of mind. 

“I booked in with a specialist and immediately she told me she was very concerned due to where my lumps were located and referred me for an urgent biopsy and scans.

“Fast forward two weeks and just before Easter weekend I had an appointment to see a consultant at the QE [Queen Elizabeth] hospital who sat me down and told me that I had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and that I would need surgery and radiotherapy treatment. 

“I never thought I would be told that I have cancer at the age of 28, you never think it’s going to happen to you.”

She added: "If ever you find a lump or something unusual on your body, never just think it's nothing, don't be told that you're fine by the GP and you're 'young'…

"Always get things checked out by a specialist if you can and insist on tests even if it turns out to be nothing, as catching things early is crucial for a good prognosis.”

Abi, although thought to be too young to have cancer by her GP, is among those most likely to get thyroid cancer.

It’s most common in those in their 30s (as well as over the age of 60), and almost three times as many women as men get the disease, the NHS says.

As Abi prepares to have surgery, read on for the symptoms of thyroid cancer.


Thyroid cancer doesn't usually present any signs or symptoms early in the disease.

It is usually discovered with unrelated tests for another condition.

As the cancer grows it may cause;

  1. A lump that can be felt or is visible through the skin on your neck
  2. A change to your voice, usually more hoarse 
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. A sore throat that won’t go away
  5. A mysterious cough
  6. Pain in your neck and throat

Around 90 per cent of people who get a thyroid cancer diagnosis live for five years, and many go on to live a normal lifespan.

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The figure drops to one in ten with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, however, as some types of thyroid cancer are more severe than others.

Thyroid cancer is quite rare, with around 3,900 people diagnosed in the UK each year.

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