Great News for Valerie Harper!

It’s hard to believe it was almost six months ago when actress Valeric Harper revealed that she terminal brain cancer and was only given 3 to 6 months to live.

At that time, the 73-year-old “Rhoda” actress had been diagnosed with a rare recurrence of the lung cancer she had fought in 2009. In her case, the tumor had spread all over the coverings of her brain, an incurable condition called Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC).

Despite the bleak prognosis, Harper has maintained a positive and hopeful outlook. She underwent chemotherapy and supplemented her regimen with acupuncture and “Chinese tea.”

She underwent a repeat MRI scan of her brain every six weeks to check on her progress. After her latest scan, her neuro-oncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick gave Valerie and her husband, Tony Cacciotti some good news- there has been striking improvement in her condition, and that she was “getting close to a remission.”

As part of a special report, Meredith Vieira and NBC News cameras having been following Valerie through her cancer battle. Here is an excerpt of this report.  (The full report will air on September 19th at 10:00 pm EST).

As Dr Rudnick points out, Harper is not cured, and the cancer can “develop resistance to the therapy.” It may just be a way of “buying time” until something new therapy comes along. But both agree that “Life [in general] is about buying time.”

Beating the odds has given Valerie Harper a belief in possibilities. As she told Meredith:

Spontaneous remission lives as a possibility. You know what I mean, girlfriend?  I mean it. It’s there… I think infinite possibility is beautiful in every area. a lot of stuff that looks impossible is not. And every day there’s evidence of it.

Which may explain some of the reports that Valerie will become a contestant on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. If so, I’ll definitely be rooting for her!

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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