Dental Hygienist's Unexpected Discovery Leads to Life-Saving Diagnosis for Woman (Exclusive)

In May, Christine Lee was diagnosed with B non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for the second time

<p>Christine Lee Mihalopoulos</p> Christine Lee Mihalopoulos shows her tumor.

Christine Lee Mihalopoulos

Christine Lee Mihalopoulos shows her tumor.

When Christine Lee went in for her dental cleaning in April, she had no idea it would turn out to be a life-saving appointment.

The 52-year-old from Cromwell, Connecticut, sat in the dentist's chair and saw her usual dental hygienist of five years, Nicole, for her routine cleaning. Normally, the two would chat and catch up on life.

However, during the cleaning, when Nicole did a finger swipe in Lee's mouth, she felt a lump.

"She could physically see it," Lee tells PEOPLE exclusively.

At the time, Nicole stopped the cleaning and took Lee over to the panoramic X-ray machine, where she discovered a mass in Lee's mouth.

Lee says, "I could feel it, but I couldn't see it on the imaging, but she could."

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<p>Christine Lee Mihalopoulos</p>

Christine Lee Mihalopoulos

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A month later, Lee was diagnosed with B non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for the second time. The first time the Hartford radio host was diagnosed was in October 2020 and, after going through treatment, went into remission in August 2021.

According to the National Cancer Institute, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma grows quickly in the lymph nodes and often the spleen, liver, bone marrow and other organs are affected. Some signs include fever, night sweats and weight loss.

"I just remember that day that Nicole was really concerned," Lee says. "She was so thoughtful and caring. The fact that she stopped the cleaning was huge to me."

"I felt so protected and safe in her care," she adds.

<p>Christine Lee Mihalopoulos</p>

Christine Lee Mihalopoulos

After her diagnosis, Lee wanted to share the news with Nicole and decided to make an impromptu visit to the office.

She took a video of the interaction and shared it on Instagram, with the clip since going viral, garnering over 40,000 likes and 300 comments, including a comment from Nicole's mom.

"It gives me chills to think about her mom posting because first of all, she loves her baby. It doesn't matter how old you get, that's your baby. And she's got her baby's back," she says.

"It made me think about my own mom. And as a mom myself, you're very protective of your children. And so the fact that her mom followed it and then also reached out to me, it felt like a hug right through the internet," she adds.

On May 23, Lee began chemotherapy again, which she will undergo for the next six months. Since starting treatment, she says her tumor has already shrunk.

Throughout treatment she plans to stay in touch with Nicole.

"Now we have each other's cell phones. We follow each other on social media. We keep up with each other. She just really is an amazing person and she's so caring," Lee says.

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