Tamra BarneyThe women of The Real Housewives of Orange County have spent plenty of time with doctors and surgeons this season. From Alexis Bellino and her big ordeal of a nose job to Vicki Gunvalson's daughter's thyroid issues, we've seen them deal with more medical issues than ever before. Turns out Tamra Barney has been battling the biggest one of all behind the scenes.

While we watched her make the decision to get her breast implants removed in recent episodes, the reason she'd given is that they were too big for her body -- and that's part of it. However, in an interview that will air on The Dr. Oz Show Thursday, Tamra dropped a bomb about the real reason she got her breast implants removed.

She had cancer. She told Dr. Oz:

I had a little health scare. I was going through this divorce. I go to the doctor and I have lumps in my breasts and I had cervical cancer that had to be removed.

She has been through so much with her divorce from Simon Barney, I can't imagine how terrified she must have been. No wonder she's seemed off this season. I had attributed it to the divorce, but this makes sense now.

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Remember the episode where she and her man Eddie Judge went to Catalina with Vicki and Brooks Ayers? She freaked out when Vicki and Eddie were just messing around, and it was so out of character for her. It also explains why she's been so open to a reconciliation with Gretchen Rossi and is even being nice to Slade Smiley. Health scares like that often make people see life in a kinder, more forgiving light. Also, while she's always been fit, we've seen her ramp up her exercise efforts considerably, even saying she and Eddie are opening a gym together.

She told Dr. Oz that while she panicked when she first heard that she had cancer, she then just wanted to take control of the situation.

I really went through this like, "What is going on with my body? What is going on?" I'm talking to my doctor about ... doing a hysterectomy, and I have lumps and I'm thinking, "Oh my god. I needed to take over my body."

Terrifying, but hopefully she found everything early enough and with the aggressive course of action, she'll be fine. Dr. Francis Palmer, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, told Celebuzz her decision to remove the implants was "common sense."

There’s no question that having breast implants makes it difficult to feel and diagnose lumps. If that was really a concern of hers, then that would be a common sense approach to take the implants out.

Best wishes to her and her family and kudos for her for coming forward with this news. It serves an important reminder for all of us to be on top of our health.

Are you surprised to learn about Tamra's health scare? In retrospect, can you see how it's changed her behavior on the show?

 

Image via Bravo