Man talking(l+r), Man during check up(c)

grinny/Shutterstock @mendandthrive/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I learned the hard way’: Man issues warning after he was told he was perfectly healthy during annual checkup, gets cancer diagnosis 1 week later

‘This is such an important thing for people to understand!’


Amara Thomas


Mark (@mendandthrive) uses his TikTok platform to promote cancer awareness and self-advocacy to his 17,000 followers. In a viral video, Mark shares his own experience and cancer diagnosis as a warning for viewers. He wants them to never stop advocating for themselves when it comes to their health. 

“Let’s talk about how I went from being told that I look perfectly healthy at my annual checkup to then being diagnosed with cancer a week later at a completely different doctor,” Marks explains at the start of his video. 

Mark says he visited his doctor for his annual checkup. According to the New York Presbyterian, at your annual check-up, your physician will “measure vital signs and perform a physical exam starting with your eyes, ear, nose, and throat and moving down to your chest, abdomen, and extremities. Sometimes your doctor will order lab tests like urinalysis or a blood count.” 

At Mark’s checkup, he had the usual procedures performed. “I had the physical. They took blood, did a urine test, and even ordered a stool sample kit. … And a few days after the appointment, the results came in. And I was told that the test all looked great, and, I quote, appeared to be in optimal health,” he says.

However, Mark says he wasn’t feeling like he was in “optimal health.”

“I was having night sweats at this point, fever on and off, various digestive issues, pain and burning in my mouth, and swelling in my neck,” he says.

It was through the biopsy appointment he already had scheduled he got answers. “Just a week after being told how healthy I was, I was diagnosed with cancer from that biopsy,” he says.

Can annual checkups catch cancer?

From this experience, Mark shares a valuable lesson. “I learned that the tests that they usually run on you at an annual checkup aren’t always the best indicator for your health, and they can’t usually predict or diagnose diseases like cancer,” he says.

The Medical Offices of Manhattan mirror Mark’s sentiments. “While annual checkups play a crucial role in cancer prevention and early detection, it’s important to note that not all cancers may be detectable through routine screenings or physical exams. Additionally, screening recommendations may vary based on individual risk factors and medical guidelines,” according to their site. 

Mark stresses, “What this example should tell you, is that once again, you know yourself better than anyone and any doctor. This is why it’s so important to be persistent, to not ignore symptoms, and to never let medical providers gaslight you into feeling like a hypochondriac.”

@mendandthrive Is your annual checkup enough to give you a clean bill of health for the year? #cancertok #tonguecancer #healthcare #selfadvocacytips #oralcancer #cancer #oralhealth #selfadvocacy #dental #dentaltok ♬ original sound – mendandthrive

Viewers are resonating

Mark’s video has 818,000 views and thousands of comments. His message resonated with viewers, who shared in the comments section that they had similar experiences to Mark. 

“My son had stage 4 lymphoblastic lymphoma (blood cancer) his blood work was perfect but he was almost dead. he has so many tumors inside his body lungs it was terrible time he was 10 18 now and great,” one viewer shared. 

Another shared a similar anecdote. “Those appts and blood tests cost an arm and a leg and it’s so upsetting it shows nothing. I have stage 3 endo undiagnosed for years glueing my organs together and it never showed up anywhere,” they wrote.

Some health professionals even chimed in. “This is such an important thing for people to understand! And providers should be explaining it better!” a TikToker who said they are a primary care provider wrote.

Mark echoed this sentiment. “If something feels wrong and you’re not getting the help or answers you need, get a second opinion, seek out a specialist, and never, ever stop advocating for yourself,” he says.

The Daily Dot reached out to Mark for comment via TikTok and Instagram.

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