Aug. 29--Valerie Harper, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in January and
given three to six months to live, has defied the odds and as of June was close
to remission, the actress and her doctor revealed Thursday morning on the
The 74-year-old "Rhoda" star, who went public with her diagnosis in March, has
combined chemotherapy with Eastern options including acupuncture and Chinese
tea. Harper has the rare condition leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs
when cancer spreads to the fluid-filled membranes that surround the brain. She
previously beat lung cancer.
But even though it's good news, it doesn't mean her brain cancer is cured.
"The problem is that any minute this can change ... ," her doctor said.
"[Patients] develop resistance to the therapy and it's not a matter of if, it's
a matter of when."
Harper has maintained an upbeat public attitude since her cancer revelation,
which she shared in detail at the time with People magazine. Now, she's
cooperated for "Valerie's Story -- A Meredith Vieira Special," set to air Sept.
19 on NBC. The cameras travel into Harper's home and even accompany her to
Before learning of her new status, she explained to Vieria, "Spontaneous
remission lives as a possibility, do you know what I mean, girlfriend? ... It's
there. ... I think infinite possibility is beautiful in every area."
And that possibility manifested as reality, in this case.
Harper's husband, Tony Cacciotti, naturally, was thrilled by the prognosis.
"Going from having three months to live or less," he said, "we're into our sixth
month and now there's even hope beyond that, right now we're looking at ...
"We're looking at Christmas," said his wife.
"This is overwhelming," Cacciotti said.
Another possibility in Harper's future: a whirl as a contestant on "Dancing With
the Stars." TMZ reported the rumor Wednesday, naming Tristan MacManus as her
partner. The new "DWTS" cast will be officially revealed Wednesday on "Good
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