Edward James Olmos reveals he had throat cancer: 'An experience that changed me'

Edward James Olmos poses in a black suit and tie with round, black-rimmed glasses.
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Edward James Olmos recently revealed on a podcast that he is cancer free after the disease "attacked" his throat.

On Friday's episode of "Mando & Friends," the "Selena" and "Miami Vice" actor shared "publicly for the first time" that he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Olmos added that he stopped treatment in December and has since recovered after "months and months" of radiation and chemotherapy.

"A lot of my friends have passed because of this," the Oscar nominee told podcast host and radio DJ Mando Fresko.

"It's a very strong disease. Cancer is, period, but in the throat it's really difficult ... One of the things that I did — which I was very thankful for — was that I was conditioned to fight this. I was in good condition."

Before he began treatment, Olmos said, doctors told him they didn't know what his voice would sound like once they "burned ... out" his lymph nodes during radiation.

In addition to undergoing radiation and chemo, the "Stand and Deliver" star was put on a diet of 2,500 calories a day. Because he was having trouble swallowing, physicians recommended Olmos ingest food through a tube — but he refused to get his nutrients that way.

"That was so hard. I mean, oh my God," he said. "It was an experience that changed me. It told me the understanding of how wonderful this life is."

While battling the illness, Olmos lost 55 pounds and a large amount of muscle. Over the last four months, the East Los Angeles native has been "coming back slowly" to full strength, he said, by rowing, lifting weights and swimming at least a mile a day.

"There was times in the months that I was undergoing the treatments that the body gives up," Olmos continued.

"I've been through some experiences that have gotten me close to death, but that was really close."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.