CSI: NY actor opens up about the personal, financial costs of thyroid cancer

After discovering he had thyroid cancer, actor Hill Harper decided to record his thoughts and frustrations about health, finances and family in a new book, titled The Wealth Cure.

The 45-year-old co-star of CBS's television drama CSI: NY, Harper is also an accomplished scholar, having graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor degree and from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Masters of Public Administration.

He told NewsOne that his journey through thyroid disease began last year in Atlanta, when he woke up one day unable to swallow food. After visiting a physician, Harper discovered that his life was in jeopardy. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

"Today, if we believe the doctors, I am doing pretty well," Harper told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He added that having had his thyroid tumor detected relatively early may have saved his life, along with getting diagnosed by multiple endocrinologists. 

"There were times when I was down, but a positive attitude goes a long way toward healing," he emphasized, quoted by the news source.

Harper ultimately ended up undergoing a total thyroidectomy in order to remove all of his cancerous tissue, NewsOne added.

His new book is an extended meditation on the problem of how to attain health and happiness with (or without) money. In the volume's guiding metaphor, the actor noted that treating one's own financial ailments is similar to treating a body that has cancer.

The newly published author listed five steps that one must actively pursue in order to achieve physical or fiscal well-being. These include diagnosis, treatment, compliance and maintenance.

And finally? "The last step is to thrive," Harper told NewsOne.

The CSI: NY cast member mentioned to the news source that thyroid cancer appears to run in his family, since his father, uncle and grandfather have all suffered from the disease themselves. Approximately 45,000 Americans are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

How is Harper doing now, post-surgery? He told both sources that he is feeling well, even though his metabolism is much changed following the removal of his thyroid gland.

Fortunately for Harper and thousands of other U.S. adults with thyroid cancer, the disease is eminently survivable, provided it is detected early enough.

The NCI states that a patient with a localized thyroid tumor has 99.8 percent chance of survival following treatment. If it has only spread regionally - namely, to the surrounding lymph nodes - thyroid cancer still entails a survival rate higher than 96 percent, the organization concludes.