Tarek El Moussa and his wife Christina are real estate agents and hosts of HGTV's hit home makeover show Flip or Flop. But reality TV took a whole new meaning for Tarek and his family when he received an alarming email from a concerned viewer. While watching a marathon of Flip or Flop, Ryan, an avid HGTV fan and registered nurse, noticed a suspicious lump on Tarek's throat. Tarek had spotted the lump before, but nurse Ryan's email motivated him to see a doctor immediately.
An ultrasound was performed, and Tarek was diagnosed with a goiter on this thyroid; however, during the surgery to remove it, doctors discovered the growth was actually cancer. Tarek had his entire thyroid removed, along with a large portion of his lymph nodes.
"I thought nothing can stop me; nothing can slow me down, and it was like hitting a wall," Tarek says. "We were devastated."
“If it wasn’t for TV and her noticing this huge lump on my neck, I would still be moving forward with my life, with cancer in my body, and probably never done anything about it,” Tarek says.
“The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has risen in recent years,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains. “The number of [patients] diagnosed has more than doubled since 1990.”
- See two simple tools needed to detect thyroid abnormalities at home .
“If you notice a lump in that area, it doesn’t mean it’s cancer,” Dr. Travis adds. “It could mean an overactive thyroid gland, secreting more thyroid hormone than you need. But here’s the deal: You’ve got to get that checked out, too. So, if you notice an abnormality, bring it up with your doctor.”