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Tarek El Moussa Cancer Battle

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Tarek El Moussa Cancer Battle

  • 2013: Tarek El Moussa was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which became a Flip or Flop storyline, and testicular cancer, which he kept a secret.
  • 2014: The HGTV host suffered a debilitating back injury, for which he took “large amounts of pain meds” and eventually had surgery.
  • 2016: Tarek and then-wife Christina El Moussa separated.
  • 2017: The star went public with his testicular cancer after his stepfather was diagnosed with the same disease.
  • 2018: Tarek’s cancer is in remission. He re-injured his back but is recovering quickly thanks to stem cell therapy.

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    The last five years haven’t exactly been easy for Tarek El Moussa. There was his 2016 split from wife and Flip or Flop co-star Christina El Moussa, of course, but Tarek has also been battling two forms of cancer and two debilitating back injuries.

    “I wasn’t healthy for years,” Tarek tells CountryLiving.com. “I had my cancer, and I was filming. Then my second cancer and I was filming. And then I hurt my back and I was filming, and then I had surgery and I was filming.”

    So when the show’s newest season premieres on May 31, it will not only mark the El Moussas’ first as exes, but also the return of a mostly healthy Tarek.

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    In fact, fans might be surprised by how different the star looks. “I had 60-pound weight swings in previous seasons between my cancer and my back injury and it was just awful,” he explains. “It was years of absolute hell.”

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    To fully appreciate the TV personality’s progress, we’re looking back at the amazing story behind his cancer diagnosis and remarkable recovery.

    Tarek El Moussa’s Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

    Back in 2013, Ryan Read, a registered nurse in Texas, was watching reruns of Flip or Flop when something caught her eye. No, it wasn’t the transformations of homes by husband-and-wife duo Tarek and Christina El Moussa, but rather a concerning lump on Tarek’s neck.

    So, she wrote the production company and suggested Tarek go see a doctor. In an interview with People, Christina recalled the message:

    “This is not a joke. I’m a registered nurse. I’ve been watching Flip or Flop. I noticed that the host Tarek has a large nodule on his thyroid, and he needs to have it checked out.”

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    Tarek was aware of the lump, but he had already had it examined and was told it was fine. Upon receiving Read’s note, though, the host got a second opinion — and found out she was right. A biopsy confirmed the lump was cancerous, and doctors removed Tarek’s thyroid.

    The star received radioactive iodine therapy for the disease, which had spread to his lymph nodes. During the treatment, he had to be isolated from his wife and the couple’s young daughter, Taylor, which Tarek described as a “nightmare.”

    But the painful experience did give him some perspective. “I’ve always been very work, work, work,” he said. “So, I stepped back and re-evaluated what I wanted, like spending time with my family and all that good stuff.”

    Tarek El Moussa’s Secret Battle With Testicular Cancer

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    Shortly after his initial diagnosis, Tarek discovered he had another form of the disease: testicular cancer. Though the thyroid cancer became a storyline on the HGTV show, the host kept his second diagnosis quiet.

    “Testicular cancer is more of a private thing,” he said in an interview with People in 2017, when he finally revealed his secret struggle. Tarek decided to open up in order to raise awareness about the disease after his stepfather was diagnosed as well. Tarek told the publication:

    “His is worse through because he waited longer. He knew there was something wrong when he told my mom years ago, but he never went to the doctor. His cancer has spread to his lymph nodes and now he has to do chemotherapy … A lot of people said they got tested because I shared my [thyroid cancer] story. I thought this was the time to come forward because it could save some lives.”

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    Tarek El Moussa’s Back Injury

    While Tarek was being treated for cancer, he and Christina were also struggling to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization. After miscarrying in 2014, Christina found out she was pregnant again, but she had to be incredibly careful and couldn’t even lift little Taylor. Unfortunately, around the same time, Tarek threw out his back playing golf, landing both parents on bedrest.

    Following the debilitating injury, Tarek said on Instagram:

    “I lost 50 pounds and was taking large amounts of pain meds to try and help the pain. Truthfully those meds really affected my mental and physical state and changed who I was.”

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    The El Moussas’ son, Brayden, was born in August 2015, about a year before they split. And although it took a year and a half and surgery, Tarek finally recovered from his back injury.

    “The last 3 years were the hardest of my life,” Tarek captioned an Instagram photo he posted to show “how absolutely sick I was.”

    “I look back and still wonder how I survived… I never quit although I wanted to thousands of times all day every day. … For everyone struggling right now from any situation.. remember… keep your head up and don’t quit! There is light at the end of the tunnel, stay strong!”

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    Tarek took those words to heart, training hard and building back muscle. As of last year, he said he was in “the best shape of my life.”

    Tarek El Moussa Cancer and Health Update

    Sadly, Tarek re-injured his back again in spring 2018, but thanks to stem cell therapy, though, he’s recovering much faster this time around.

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    “MIRACLES HAPPEN!!!! … Two weeks ago I could barely walk and was headed towards surgery … Today, I can’t believe I’m saying this…I’m 80 percent better from my treatment with almost NO pain at all!! Just left my second procedure and I will be 100 percent pain free in 2 weeks..the future is here!!!!”

    As for his cancer, Tarek tells us all is well. “I’m in remission, and everything’s looking good,” he says.

    He’s looking forward to the new season of Flip or Flop; he was healthy for most of the new episodes, except for some scenes captured after the second back injury.

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    Oh, and as he said on The Dr. Drew Podcast, he’s happier than ever. “The second I separated from my wife I said, ‘Okay it’s time to do some soul searching, figure out what’s wrong with me.’ … I can say, standing here today, I’m the best version of myself I ever thought I could be. Honestly, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been to date because I don’t feel the way I felt.”

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