Valerie Harper's brain cancer 'pretty close to remission' (Video)
Valerie Harper received some good news recently, which was revealed in a segment for the "Today" show on Thursday, Aug. 29.
The 74-year-old actress, who is known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda," said in March that she had been diagnosed with a rare condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain.
She received the diagnosis on Jan. 15, and at the time, doctors believed she had as little as three months to live. However, it appears her condition has improved.
In the "Today" show segment, which can be viewed below, Meredith Viera is seen with Harper in June, when the actress had a routine MRI scan. Harper goes in for a scan every six weeks so that her doctors can see how her cancer is progressing.
Harper's neuro-oncologist, Dr. Jeremy Rudnick, told Harper the results of the actress' June scan showed an improvement in her condition and when Viera asked Dr. Rudnick to assess the actress' condition in layman's terms, he said, "I'd say that we're getting pretty close to a remission."
"It defies the odds," he added. "The problem is at any time this can change."
Dr. Rudnick explained that Harper's cancer can develop a resistance to the chemotherapy treatment she has been receiving. "It's not a matter of it, it's a matter of when," he said.
"It's not curable, there's no question," Harper said during the segment. "It has to be managed."
"Yeah, but going from having three months to live or less -- we're into our sixth month. And now there's even hope beyond that," Harper's husband Tony Cacciotti said.
"We're looking at Christmas," Harper said with a smile.
The segment is part of an hour-long documentary about Harper's battle with cancer which will air on Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. on NBC.
The news comes amid rumors that Harper will be a contestant on the upcoming season of "Dancing With The Stars," but an ABC spokesperson declined to comment on casting reports when asked by OTRC.com to confirm Harper's casting.
The official announcement about who will participate in the 17th season of "Dancing With The Stars" will be made on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sept. 4. "Dancing With The Stars" season 17 premieres on Sept. 16. at 8 p.m. on ABC.