Raul De Molina, Kidney Cancer
"I don't know what it would have been like if I had gone anywhere else."
Television Host Beats Cancer, Brings Doctor to Show
Raul de Molina, Emmy award-winning host of the #1 rated entertainment news program on the Univision network, El Gordo y La Flaca, brings his charismatic personality to his viewers every day, whether he’s interviewing a guest, covering important events across the world, or dancing with the show’s beautiful models.
However, a cancer diagnosis almost brought his television career to a screeching halt.
About eight years ago, Raul began to feel a sharp pain in his lower back. He thought little of it at first; despite being overweight, he has exercised everyday for the last 25 years, and figured he had just strained himself while working out.
His normal physician performed blood tests, which came out fine. Raul went to an urologist at another hospital, who told him to wait a few weeks before getting an MRI.
Just a few days later, Raul’s back pain became so intense he was forced to rush to the emergency room at 5 a.m.
“I’ve never been sick in my life,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
An MRI revealed a large tumor on his right kidney: “the size of my head,” Raul demonstrates by holding up both hands.
The doctor at the ER said Raul would have to have his kidney removed immediately and referred him to Mark Soloway, M.D., professor and chairman of the department of urology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Soloway agreed surgery was in order, but recommended that they wait a month or two. In the meantime, he advised Raul to lose a little weight, and kept him under close observation.
Upon meeting Dr. Soloway, Raul’s mind was immediately put at ease.
“He would tell me ‘Don’t worry about it, I do this all the time,’” Raul recalls of Dr. Soloway’s comforting words. “He made me feel like I wasn’t going to have any problems.”
The month before surgery, Raul was touched by the outpouring of support he received from the Sylvester community; not only from Dr. Soloway, who called Raul once or twice a week, but also from former patients of Dr. Soloway whom Raul spoke with. He realized he wasn’t alone.
The surgery to remove Raul’s kidney was performed successfully by Dr. Soloway and Gaetano Ciancios, M.D., professor of urology and surgery. Soon enough, Raul was out and about and ready to return to television.
He had a unique idea for how to thank Dr. Soloway.
“Raul said David Letterman brought his heart surgeon to his show, so he wanted me to be there when he returned to El Gordo y La Flaca,” recalls Dr. Soloway.
“Since I am not fluent in Spanish or a regular on TV, I was quite nervous,” he admits. “But fortunately a gorgeous model dressed as a nurse came over to me as I sat on the couch next to Raul and gave me a huge hug and kiss, thanking me for saving Raul.”
To this day, Raul and Dr. Soloway have remained close friends, frequently meeting for dinner. Raul always asks if he should be doing anything specific to maintain his good health. Other than going to his doctor every six months for regular checkups, Raul says Dr. Soloway just tells him to continue being himself.
Raul is excited to be back on television, doing what he loves. “The best thing that happened to me was being introduced to Dr. Soloway,” he says. “I don’t know what it would have been like if I had gone anywhere else.”