Tarek El Moussa, Christian LeBlanc, Deborah Norville saved by eagle-eyed fans who spotted cancer on TV
“The Young and the Restless” star Christian LeBlanc recently revealed his fans called attention to an early sign of his cancer before he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in June.
The 65-year-old actor, now in remission, told New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV that concerned viewers of the long-running soap opera alerted him after spotting a change in one of his eyes. LeBlanc said doctors later found a tumor in his sinus cavity that was “pressing down on my optic nerve.”
“The fans caught it,” LeBlanc recalled. “I was getting people like, ‘Your eye’s a little Jim Carrey that way.’”
The Daytime Emmy Award winner first portrayed Michael Baldwin on “The Young and the Restless” from 1991 to 1993. LeBlanc returned to the role in 1997 and celebrated the show’s 50th anniversary in May.
During his interview with WWL-TV, LeBlanc shared he also began noticing symptoms of the disease while on set.
“They put my wedding ring on, Lauren and Michael’s wedding ring, and I put my hand down, and the ring fell off without friction,” he realled. “I said, ‘Well, what an odd thing.’ My nose started bleeding on set. Sometimes, this eye kind of got a little wonky because there was a tumor in the sinus cavity.”
The “As the World Turns” alum said he went in for an eye exam and was advised to consult a neuro-ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of vision problems linked to the nervous system.
“My eye doctor just said, ‘You might go — your eye’s a little droopy — might go check it out with a neurological ophthalmologist,’ which I had never even heard of,” LeBlanc recalled. “And so they found [the cancer], and there was a chance it was a very serious cancer. There were options. They didn’t know until after this surgery, but there was a tumor right here pressing on my optic nerve.”
LeBlanc explained that the cancer might have progressed further if he hadn’t had the eye exam.
“It’s a very fast cancer, and that is the danger of it, but it’s also because the speed of which a cell reproduces is a signifier of cancer,” he said. “It also makes it very obvious it’s a cancer and easily attacked and easily spotted once you get in there.”
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that forms in plasma cells in the bone marrow. LeBlanc told WWL-TV he had realized that multiple myeloma was a “very common” cancer until he was diagnosed.
“But, again, it’s like you don’t think of a pink elephant. Now that I hear about myeloma, you hear it everywhere,” he said. “But it is such a well-researched cancer, and they have made so many huge steps with the taking the pain out of the chemo, making it more constructive, immunotherapies. But, yeah, I had to deal with that.”
The television star noted he had never spent a day in a hospital until receiving his cancer diagnosis. He began treatment and lost 35 pounds in two months while battling the disease.
LeBlanc said he had been told to “eat like it’s your job” so he could put the weight back on. The actor, who grew up in New Orleans, said he “was raised to fulfill that promise.”
Now that he is in remission, LeBlanc revealed that fans can expect to see him return to “The Young and the Restless” on the Thanksgiving episode, which airs Nov. 23.
LeBlanc is not the only television star whose cancer was caught early by eagle-eyed viewers. Here are other celebrities whose observant fans alerted them to warning signs of the disease.
Tarek El Moussa
Tarek El Moussa’s thyroid cancer was first detected by a fan who noticed a lump on his neck while watching a marathon of his HGTV show “Flip or Flop” in 2013.
The reality star, now 42, had a biopsy after receiving a warning from Ryan Read, a nurse who emailed the show’s production company after spotting the nodule on his neck.
In a 2013 interview with People magazine, El Moussa’s ex-wife and former “Flip or Flop” co-host Christina Hall said of Read, “She didn’t want to seem like a crazy fan.”
“Instead of writing to us, she Googled and found the production company and sent an email saying, ‘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.’”
At the time, El Moussa said he had also been noticing symptoms of the disease.
“I was having a harder time swallowing, and this lump was getting bigger,” he told People. “I actually went to the doctor twice for it, and they said it’s nothing. So, once I saw [the note from Read], I was like, ‘You know what? I need to get a second opinion.’”
El Moussa got a biopsy and found out he had thyroid cancer. After having surgery, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, and he subsequently underwent thyroid radioactive iodine therapy.
El Moussa told People magazine that after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, he and Hall “looked through all my old medical records for any other irregularities.”
The pair discovered an irregular testicular exam from two years earlier that prompted El Moussa to seek further testing. After an ultrasound revealed he had testicular cancer, El Moussa underwent surgery and radiation treatment.
The real estate investor beat both diseases and is in remission.
“There will be no chemo, I’m told no radiation, but I will have surgery and I’ll be away for a bit,” she added. “If you believe in prayer, please say one for me and for my surgeon, and I thank you very much.”
After undergoing surgery, the anchor returned to “Inside Edition” two weeks later. During an interview on CBS “This Morning,” she expressed her gratitude to the viewer who first brought her attention to the lump.
“I am so grateful to that person. You think, ‘Oh it’s so rude to say something to somebody,’ but this person potentially saved my life,” she said.
Sue Nicholls, who has starred on the British soap opera “Coronation Street” for almost four decades, was diagnosed with melanoma after a viewer became concerned over the appearance of a mole on her shoulder and contacted the show.
Anna Bianconi-Moore, a nurse who worked in the dermatology clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, told the Mail on Sunday in 2012 that the mole caught her attention when she was watching an episode of the show in 2010.
“I noticed it was irregular in shape and had at least three different colors that I could distinguish by standing close to the television,” she remembered.
“These are two of the red-flag signals that distinguish the most deadly form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma. I was obviously incredibly worried for Sue, and felt I needed to do something.”
“I didn’t want to be perceived as a deranged fan, but I felt a moral obligation,” she added. “If you saw a person about to step out in front of a bus, you would pull them back, and that is how I felt.
“I wrote that I had observed a sinister-looking lesion and suggested that Sue should see a specialist, sooner rather than later, as it may require urgent attention.”
Bianconi-Moore’s email was forwarded to the series’ medical team, which contacted Nicholls. After measuring the actress’s mole, the show’s doctor asked her to return in a few months to see if it had changed in size.
A checkup later revealed the mole had grown by a quarter of an inch. Nicholls was then seen by a skin cancer specialist and consultant plastic surgeon, who advised her to have the mole removed.
After undergoing surgery to remove the mole and surrounding tissue, Nicholls was told that testing revealed it had turned into melanoma.
Nicholls, now 79, attempted to contact Bianconi-Moore to thank her but found that the show’s station ITV had not saved her email information. In November 2012, Nicholls gave an interview to the Mail on Sunday in which she asked the viewer to come forward so she could express her gratitude.
On the day the interview aired, Angus McGrouther, a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Manchester University and a friend of Bianconi-Moore, dined with Nicholls’ surgeon.
He later called Bianconi-Moore, who contacted Nicholls to identify herself. In June 2012, the pair finally met on the set of “Coronation Street.”
“When I found out what had happened to Sue, I was sorry I had been right, but there was also an element of relief,” Bianconi-Moore told the Mail on Sunday. “I’m so glad I was able to do something, and she is now well.”
Nicholls told the outlet, “It was so important to me to meet Anna and thank her. She is such a kind, conscientious and clever lady. I wouldn’t have done anything about my mole had she not got in touch. It was just a freckle, and I’d had it forever.”
The post Tarek El Moussa, Christian LeBlanc, Deborah Norville saved by eagle-eyed fans who spotted cancer on TV appeared first on Fox News.