HGTV's Tarek El Moussa Meets the Live-Saving Fan Who Spotted His Cancer on TV and Urged Him to See a Doctor

The Flip or Flop star was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in June 2013


Over two years after first being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Flip or Flop star Tarek El Moussa is in remission – and thanking the eagle-eyed viewer who just might have saved his life.

The HGTV host met Ryan, a registered nurse, for the first time during an appearance with his wife and costar Christina on The Doctors on Monday.

After watching a marathon of El Moussa’s popular home renovation show in 2013, Ryan said she noticed a lump in the host’s throat and emailed producers at the time to encourage the star to have a biopsy.

“We got the email and I had a bad feeling about it, and just made the first doctor’s appointment we could,” El Moussa said during the appearance.

El Moussa not only had thyroid cancer, but it had spread to his lymph nodes. He then underwent thyroid radioactive iodine therapy.

“If it wasn’t for TV or her noticing this huge lump on my neck, I would still be moving forward with my life with cancer in my body and never doing anything about it,” the 34-year-old said.

Ryan and the El Moussas embraced on set while emotionally wiping away tears.

“You get that gut feeling,” Ryan revealed of her discovery. “Halfway through an episode during a marathon, I saw it. And I stopped the TV, rewound it, watched it again. Watched a few more episodes…”

Ryan said she knew she had to reach out, but was hesitant to pen the email so she wouldn’t sound “like a crazy fan.”

Ultimately, her tactic worked.

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While El Moussa is cancer-free, he recently told PEOPLE that he doesn’t “have the energy I used to have.”

“The last three years have been a pretty big challenge,” he added.

Instead, El Moussa is focusing on growing his family – which now includes son Brayden James, born in August.

“There is always that chance of re-occurrence, but every year that goes by the odds of reoccurrence goes down, so it’s good,” he said. “I have slowed down quite a bit. Which is actually a good thing because I can actually relax now.”

For more on the El Moussa family, pick up the current issue of PEOPLE.

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