September marks Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, bringing attention to one of the fastest-growing cancers that often evades early detection due to the lack of technological advancement in diagnostics. As the founder and CEO of FUBU, Daymond John, an investor and television personality on “Shark Tank”, is one of the most high-profile survivors of this deadly cancer. Now 5 years in remission, John is using his voice to raise awareness about the importance of preventive healthcare and early diagnosis.

In 2017, John received an unexpected diagnosis of Stage 2 thyroid cancer, at the age of 48, during a routine physical exam. Despite having no prior symptoms, his doctor discovered a biopsied nodule and he suddenly found himself in the position of needing to advocate for his own health and wellness. Rather than waiting to see how the affected nodule progressed, he swiftly underwent surgery, increasing his chances of survival from localized thyroid cancer to 95%, according to the American Cancer Society

Thankfully, the surgery was successful. John credits this to his ongoing dedication to “regular appointments with my doctors and early action being taken as soon as the nodule was detected on my thyroid.” These regular screenings and checkups are crucial, especially because the cancer incidence rate in Black males being 14% higher than white males, according to a recent report by Medical News Today.

Looking back, he calls the ordeal a ‘wake up call’ and says, “A man who has health has a thousand dreams, but a man without health has only one.” In conversation with EBONY, John shares his tips for those looking to take action and become more diligent about their health. 

Commit to a Wellness Routine

“Health is wealth, and the habits that we form now will set us up for a long, happy, and healthy life for years to come. This year, I finally committed to living a healthier lifestyle, and I’ve never felt better” he remarks. “I want to empower people to take control of their health, which means looking at what you put into your body. No matter how much you exercise, you can’t outwork a bad diet. It’s not always easy but changing my diet and focusing on nutrition have made a huge impact on my life. I’ve cut back on sugar, limited alcohol, and tried to find ways that I can be active every day.” 

Go The Extra Mile

John explains, “In between visits to your doctor, there are many ways to take your health into your own hands. My good friend Naveen Jain founded Viome, and they offer at-home tests to understand your cellular health, immune health, digestion, internal aging, and even your risk of oral and throat cancer. The tests are clinically backed, easy to use, and give me an exhaustive list of food and nutrients that I should eat, avoid and moderate to feel my best.” 

Be Intentional

When it comes to his health, John uses the same approach that made him so successful in business. He explains, “Goal setting is the number one thing I recommend, no matter what you are trying to accomplish in life. And the goals I set are not only focused on business and family, but also on my health and wellness. I have been using a specific method for decades. I set a list of ten short-term and long-term goals which I aim to accomplish in the next six months, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years. I also map out what steps I need to take to reach them.” Once those goals are in place, “I read those goals to myself twice daily, as soon as I wake up and right before I go to bed so they are my first and last thought every day.”