Years after very publicly coming out with the story about how he was diagnosed with, and beat, thyroid cancer, Flip or Flop star Tarek El Moussa revealed that he also battled testicular cancer.
The reality TV star — who is going through a very public divorce from his wife, Christina — made the shocking revelation on the Today show earlier this morning. He said he decided to share his story because his stepfather is currently battling the disease as well, and he wanted to raise awareness.
“I literally thought I was going to die,” he said this morning. “I know that when I came out with thyroid cancer, a lot of people also found out they had thyroid cancer. I felt like it’s something I had to do.”
Tarek was initially diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013 when a Flip or Flop viewer — who happened to be a registered nurse — noticed an unusual lump on the reality star’s throat and reached out to the network urging him to get it checked out.
“I noticed that at certain angles, at certain times, it just caught my eye that Tarek had a lump on his throat,” the super-observant viewer Ryan Reade told Today. “And I thought it was something that needed to be brought to his attention.”
It was after the message was relayed to Tarek that he decided to get the lump checked out. He explained, “We seriously looked at each other and we’re like, ‘OK, it’s not something might be wrong, something is wrong.”
Earlier this year, Tarek took to social media to confirm to his fans that he’s still cancer-free.
“Still cancer-free!!! Having cancer is a very scary thing… I always get nervous going into each check up and today I got GREAT news!! Having no thyroid and balancing medications is tough! I’m finally at UCLA and I’m on the right doses of medication,” he wrote on Instagram. “People don’t know, but I was very over medicated with rapid heart rate and palpitations to the point where I wore a heart rate monitor… It really messed me up but everything is dialed and I finally feel great after three years!”