El Moussa's Amazing, Fighting Spirit – Now, Maybe a New Baby
- HGTV star Tarek El Moussa has survived Covid-19, testicular cancer, and thyroid cancer; he and wife Heather are undergoing fertility treatments to try to have a baby together.
- Symptoms of testicular cancer include a lump in either testicle and a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; perform self-checks to look for these things as it could be cancer.
- People fighting cancers that affect the reproductive system – i.e., testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer – may consider freezing their sperm or their eggs if they wish to have a family, as some cancer treatments damage fertility.
The treatment path for both types of cancers depends upon the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Common treatments for testicular cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Treatments for thyroid cancer can include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy.
Some cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can have a negative effect on a man’s fertility. We don’t know if El Moussa’s cancer treatment regimen could have had an effect on his ability to sire children. We also don’t know if it’s him or his wife (or both) who are the behind the couple’s infertility challenge. Even in cases of male factor infertility, it’s often still the woman who needs to undergo in vitro fertilization in order for the couple to successfully conceive.
(El Moussa already has two children, Taylor Reese El Moussa, 11, and Brayden El Moussa, 6, with his former wife Christina Haack, 38. El Moussa and Haack gained worldwide fame with their HGTV show Flip or Flop.)
In a post shared to Instagram, El Moussa writes of Young, “So proud of my wife for being the strongest, most positive woman I know. Today @heatherraeyoung had her egg extractions done and we found out some amazing news (full update is on her feed) but I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate my wife and her ability to go through everything with a smile on her face…”
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The doting husband continues, “She’s truly amazing and we’re just thrilled about the news. Fingers crossed but right now I’m just so happy and can’t wait to see what the future holds. there may be another little El Moussa sooner than we think.”
In her post about the news, Young shared a bit more, writing, “We are officially home from egg retrieval and got great news from my Doctor. Initially, Tarek and I thought we were only going to get 2 eggs from this retrieval but we ended up with 7 eggs, 6 ended up being good. We thawed 4 eggs from my egg retrieval we did 2 years ago. 3 ended up making it…. So we will create 9 embryos. Usually, only 50% make it through the process but we won’t know yet. First update will be in 5 days and by 2 weeks we know how many healthy embryos we got! I can’t wait!…”
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They are an adorable, very in-love pair. In another recent post shared to Instagram, El Moussa showed he and Young in a cute, affectionate moment, as he gave her kisses during “Fight Night” this week.
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Understanding Testicular Cancer
Each year, approximately 10,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. This is a cancer that primarily affects young men aged 15 to 35. The average age at the time of diagnosis of testicular cancer is about 33, according to the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Edwin Posadas, the medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, tells SurvivorNet in an earlier interview that this disease often presents as an unusual lump. “It’s not uncommon to see men come in with masses on their scrotum and have inflammation of the scrotal wall; they develop pain as a result. A lump is the most common symptom of testicular cancer.”
Dr. Posadas also says that testicular cancer doesn’t often present with pain, but it can. “Most men will present with some sort of mass on their testicle. A sexual partner or spouse may feel the mass when they’re being intimate.” He also says some men may notice blood in their ejaculate as a result of testicular cancer, which is a less common symptom.
In an earlier interview, Tripp Hornick reflects on the potential embarrassment some men might feel after a testicular cancer diagnosis, as with other intimate-body-part cancers, such as anal cancer. He tells SurvivorNet, “Shame is an important topic when it comes to cancer. And I think we as men have an awful lot that we can learn from what women have had to go through in breast cancer.”
“The most important thing is to never become the victim and not to empower yourself as a victim,” says Hornick. “There’s nothing good and nothing positive about sending a message as a victim and a culture of victimhood. The way to turn the shame upside down, if you have it, is to show how strong you are.”
“Those of us, the vast majority of people who have had [testicular] cancer and gone on to live very successful and happy lives– listen to those people. Listen to us. Listen to yourself.”
Dealing With the Shame That May Come With Testicular Cancer
Fertility and Cancer Treatments
Many people diagnosed with cancers that affect reproductive parts – such as El Moussa’s testicular cancer – may choose to freeze their sperm or their eggs (for people battling ovarian, cervical, and other cancers) as a way to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment. Some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can damage fertility, so it’s a preventative measure for people who may want to have children.
In a previous interview, Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM NY, says that time is of the essence when it comes to fertility conversations with your doctor. She says, “The sooner we start, the sooner that patient can then go on and do their treatment. A lot of the success comes down to how old you are at the time you froze and the quality of the lab in which your eggs or embryos are frozen in.”
“Oftentimes, we just do what we call a ‘fast start,’” says Dr. Knopman. “We start them no matter where they are in their menstrual cycle. Because of that, it can sometimes take a bit longer than it would for traditional IVF stimulation. But all in, you’re never really talking about more than two weeks.”