Edward James Olmos is opening up for the first time publicly about his battle with throat cancer.
In an interview with Mando Fresko on Mando & Friends shared Thursday, the actor detailed his recent health scare.
“This would be the first time publicly I’ll be coming out and saying it, but I had throat cancer,” Olmos said. “I just finished getting through it. December 20 was my last radiation and the week before I’d finished my chemo.” He noted that he spent “months and months” on radiation and chemo.
The 76-year-old went on to explain that he still has a bump where his lymph nodes were: “They burned them out because they shot this area with radiation.” He also recalled the doctors telling him that because he was undergoing radiation, they weren’t sure how his voice would sound after treatment.
“A lot of my friends have passed because of this. It’s a very strong disease,” he said.
Despite saying that the cancer battle “took a lot,” the actor explained that he is grateful that he was in the “condition to fight this.”
“I was in good condition — and I still am,” he said. “I swim a mile a day at least, sometimes two miles a day. Every day, seven days a week. And then I row and I do weights.” Olmos noted that he’s lost 55 pounds as a result of the health scare. “I lost all my muscle, so in the last four months I’ve been coming back slowly.”
“There were times in the months that I was undergoing the treatments that the body gives up. And I didn’t want to take my food through my stomach. They wanted to put tubes in and feed me nutrients because I couldn’t swallow,” Olmos continued. “They had to get 2,500 calories into my body every day. That was ridiculous, that was so hard.” He said that he was also given “intravenous water” so he wouldn’t dehydrate, given he couldn’t drink water at the time.
“It was an experience that changed me, the understanding of how wonderful this life is. I’ve been through some experiences that have gotten me close to death but that was close.”