Tarek El Moussa has been unusually open about his ongoing battle against thyroid cancer over the past few months. The Flip or Flop star formerly shunned social media; now, he’s a mainstay on Instagram, offering cancer updates and inspirational quotes on the regular. So it wasn’t entirely surprising to see Tarek take to a morning talk show for his latest big reveal earlier this week–though the reveal itself left many fans reeling in surprise.
Tarek popped in on the Today show a few days after his estranged wife Christina made her big solo debut on Good Morning America. She remained largely upbeat, going out of her way to talk about how well she and Tarek are co-parenting and sidestepping the news of an earlier miscarriage that she revealed for the first time in a recent People cover story.
Tarek’s Today appearance was similar in tone; the notable difference was that he dropped his bombshell on the show itself. According to Tarek, the thyroid cancer he’s been battling into remission since 2013 isn’t the whole story. He’s actually had two different types of cancer–both thyroid and testicular–and managed to wrestle them down simultaneously.
Here’s Tarek’s appearance (the interview proper begins at around the 2:00 mark):
“I thought I was going to die,” Tarek admits. “I thought I was rotting inside….Literally a month after I found out I had thyroid cancer, I was at the hospital, and they said ‘Hey, I hate to tell you…you have testicular cancer.'”
Tarek explained that he decided to talk about his testicular cancer now “to make people aware of it.” His stepfather was just diagnosed with testicular cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy, so the issue hits even closer to home for him right now.
On a related note, Tarek has begun using his influence to try and spread the word about cancer-related causes. When the disease struck a Flip or Flop crew member, he jumped to the man’s aid:
#Cancer #Sucks!! I will be shooting with Entertainment tonight and the Doctors TV show today to create #cancer awareness. You all know #frank the tank from #FliporFlop episodes. You haven't seen him in a long time because he has been battling with multiple cancers for years. He is defying the odds and currently putting up the #fight for his life! He is such an inspirational man and Means a lot to me. #love you Frank… stay strong and put up the good fight buddy! Can't wait to get you back brother!!
Flip or Flop‘s current season airs Thursday nights at 9 PM on HGTV.
(Photo credits: Does Tarek El Moussa still have cancer via Instagram)