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Sofia Vergara displays scar from cancer surgery as she details health battle for important reason

The actress kept her illness a secret

sofia vergara satin and sequins
Hannah Hargrave
Hannah HargraveUS Deputy Editor
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Sofia Vergara opened up about her painful health diagnosis on Friday alongside a message for an important reason. 

The Modern Family actress was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in her twenties after doctors found a lump in her throat.

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To mark World Cancer Day, Sofia shared a photo of herself bearing the scar across her neck in a poignant Instagram post. 

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The snapshot showed Sofia looking up through a camera and the surgery scar was clearly visible on her throat. 

She wrote: "At 28, 'Cancer' was not a word I expected to hear. It was just a routine checkup. But the doctors found a lump in my throat, and that word became part of my story. 

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"I spent countless hours in radiation treatments, and, eventually, in surgery. Today, I get to call myself a cancer survivor."

Sofia shared the photo of her scar for World Cancer Day 

She continued: "This was my first acting class after diagnosis and treatment, and seeing the scar on my throat reminds me of how blessed I felt that day — and every day since. 

"I'm lucky and grateful to be in a position to share my story and say: early prevention is so important!! Schedule your annual check up for this year if you haven’t already #worldcancerday #closethecaregap."

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The America's Got Talent judge kept her battle a secret for 11 years and only went public with her diagnosis in 2011. 

sofia vergara husband joe manganiello© Photo: Getty Images

Sofia and her husband Joe Manganiello

"I didn't want publicity because of it," she told Health. "Having cancer is not fun. You don’t want to deal with anything else while you're going through it. It's as simple as that."

Fast forward more than two decades and Sofia now works to support others in the same position, by sharing her own experiences as much as possible.

She encourages everyone to get checked in a bid to catch the disease early too. 

"I read every book and found out everything I could," she said. "I was fortunate to have caught it early and to have the support of my doctors and most importantly, my family."

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