Australian celebrity opens up about thyroid cancer diagnosis and recovery

Mark Holden, former Australian Idol judge and 1970s pop music star, recently spoke to the media about his battle with thyroid cancer. The 56-year-old was diagnosed earlier this year after discovering a lump in his neck last September, Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) reports.

"I was stunned," he told the magazine. The doctor "explained that the primary cancer was on my thyroid gland in my throat and the lump was a secondary indication."

Holden underwent a six-hour operation to remove the cancer five months ago. He is recovering, but still suffers restricted movement in his neck and worries he will lose his ability to sing, the news source reports.

"I can speak but I can't raise my voice," he told AWW. "And while I can sing in the low range, I can't sing in my full voice."

Holden has a long and varied career in both Australia and the U.S., where he works as a singer, actor and songwriter.

Before his diagnosis, Holden became spokesperson for Blue September, a charity that raises funds for men's cancer research.

Although thyroid cancer is three times more likely to affect women, men are still at risk, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).