Valerie Harper's cancer diagnosis has taken a turn for the better.
The actress revealed in March that she was battling a rare, terminal form of cancer that doctors believed left her with just three to six months to live.
But in late August, the 74-year-old actress said on "Today" that she's getting "pretty close to remission."
Since her diagnosis, Harper has been undergoing chemotherapy in addition to Eastern treatments like acupuncture.
"Spontaneous remission lives as a possibility," the sitcom star said on "Today." "A lot of stuff that looks impossible is not, and every day there's evidence of it."
In June, Harper received more of that evidence. Although her illness is incurable, doctors had good news when Harper went in for an MRI test: her scans showed that she was improving.
"We're getting pretty close to a remission," Harper's doctor said, admitting that he didn't expect for Harper to have survived as long as she has. "It defies the odds."
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Harper still has to stay on top of her treatment, as her doctor noted that it isn't a matter of if the cancer becomes resistant, but when. Yet for now, the actress is reveling in the impossible becoming possible.
For more on Harper's journey, look out for NBC's hour-long documentary on the star's fight with cancer that's scheduled to air on September 19 at 10 p.m.
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Valerie has become my personal role model in how to live your life after getting a bad cancer diagnosis. I too have Non Small Lung Cancer, stage IV. I was diagnosed , the 2nd time, on Dec. 2010.She is living her life to the fullest, as long as she is able, and that is what I am doing as well. Chemo is no picnic, but giving up what you love, be it acting as in Valerie's case, or an antique dealer, in my case is letting this disease "win".
She is truly an inspiration to anyone who is battling this disease.
Any good news, anywhere, is welcome. My best wishes for Valerie, and thanks to her for sharing her story and positive outlook for everyone facing "impossible" odds!
@Betty – Rock Hudson died of AIDS not cancer.
Doctors can only guess at a prognosis. I have a friend who had prostate cancer that spread from head to toe. He was given 3 months to live. 11 years and 23 cruises later, he finally passed away. Again, don't rely on a grim prognosis from a doctor as the final word.
I think Valerie Harper is a wonderful and courageous woman. HOWEVER...
This story is an utter fake. Worse, they're preying on her desperate hopes in quoting her that the cancer is "almost in remission."
Notice that they didn't say what kind of cancer? Another network story said it is lung cancer and that it has spread to her brain, which is a very normal path Stage IV for lung cancer.
Here is what is false:
1. "The doctors gave her three to six months to live." THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. My wife was treated by the same lung cancer specialist she went to, Ronald Natale at Cedars. I know what Natale would say, because I heard him say it: that the MEDIAN SURVIVAL RATE for such a cancer is "X" months. A responsible doctor, and especially an oncologist,. NEVER NEVER NEVER says "you have x months to live" because they have NO IDEA. They know the MEDIAN - half live longer,half die sooner. The median survival rate for my wife's Stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer was six months at her diagnosis. She outlived it by three years because she got fantastic treatment (before Blue Cross turned into such a pack of thieves).
2. 'REMISSION." The NORMAL course of events, the FIRST TIME one is treated with chemo, is for the cancer markers in the bloodstream to nearly disappear. That is what happens to MOST patients who receive the right chemo for the illness. Then, the small remaining cancer, which has beaten that chemo, comes back. Then they typically get a different chemo combination, and that works for a while. Then, it comes back again. Most lung cancers are relentless and not defeatable past Stage II.
I feel terribly sorry for her that she has go to through this, but also because she is publicly setting herself up as being in a special situation when what she is experiencing is the normal course of the disease and treatment. Good for her for fighting it, but there is only one way that this will end. Sad to say, I watched it happen day by day for three and a half years.
3. "Eastern treatments." If you believe that hogwash, by all means, get Eastern treatments or whatever else you can get that boosts morale and doesn't do harm IN ADDITION TO the treatments oncologists recommend. But what extends life most is (a) the best combination of chemo, IMRT and stereotactic radiosurgery (for the metastatic brain tumors), excellent nutrition, and marijuana for the chemo and radiation nausea. I don't advocate medical marijuana for much, but it is fantastic for dealing with chemo and radiation nausea. She should not smoke it. She should get an inhaler that heat-blows the THC out of the weed into water, and then inhale above the water. They're available online for about $400.
Ummm...Almost remission means she's NOT in remission. I've been dealing with cancer for 4 years. This is not a story until the doctors say she is cured.
Nobody seems to have read the entire article. Her doctors say its not a matter of if the cancer will become resistant to treatment, but when.
Gee aren't you the positive one. Screw your experience, it's a damned good story if you are Valarie. Now just shut up!!!
@ed dugan: What an incredibly rude and insensitive reply to someone who has been battling cancer for 4 years! I would be willing to bet she has more knowledge on this topic than you do. If I were suffering from cancer, I'd sure hate to have someone like you as morale support.
I like her...I hate oblahblah though...
What are you, like 5?
Congratulations Valerie! I am so happy for you. Now let's ensure that all Americans get the help they need to fight cancer.
Weird,..but why is it that I knew that this "remission" would take place. What a MIRACLE....of publicity. Next she will be on the cover of every magazine,...touting a "miracle cure" that she has marketed.
Congratulations.....you win the jerk of the year award.
Good news for a classy lady !!
Wonderful news.. Very good... Glad for her and her family...
Wow! She makes a miraculous recovery just in time for the new sitcom season! And 8 months after she said she had 3 months to live!
Pretty mean spirited, there pal. I hope you don't see plots everywhere.
Another ugly post by another cynical jerk. BTW....there is speculation she will appear on Dancing With The Stars. If that happens it is not Valierie wanting the 'publicity" it is DWTS. I hope she is healthy enough to do it.
What wonderful news, but then I knew Rhoda would pull through!
And Valerie, you look absolutely gorgeous. I can't believe you're 74. Maybe 37 . But 74? NO WAY!
This is great news. The prognosis may be terminal, but an extended period of good quality of life is well worth it to her, I am sure. I hope she enjoys a long life! :-)
That is amazing! All the luck in the world to her.
Good for her!!!! Many prayers to her continued improving health. God be praised. The haters may be pitied.
I wish her God's best
Its a good thing she has a lot of money and awesome health care. Whata HUGE difference that makes. Cancer, aids, whatever else rarely if ever actually kills anyone with money. Hmmm..... oh well.
Mike, so not true. Many RICH people die from many different deseases. All the time. That was cold.
Paul McCartney's first wife Linda
I could name more, but money can not save you from cancer. We went to MD Anderson in Houston. #1 in the country, they see 1 Million cancer patients a year. One of the best places to go, great doctors. My wife still passed away from cancer. I used to think that if we had more money... but then I think of all the billionaires that couldn't beat cancer. Money will not save you from cancer.
So you don't believe Sam Walton was rich?
Michael Landon? Patrick Swayze? Rock Hudson? Paul Newman? I could go on and on.
Steve Jobs?? Money can't stop cancer.
Valerie Harper is an extremely lovable person and it shows in her acting and professional merits. I cannot be happier for her. HOPE and SUCCESS is something to be very thankful for... right along with those wonderful, supportive prayers.
She is one of my favorites, and if your reading this Val, I prayed and will continue to pray for you. Keep the faith girl!!
When Valerie was on the "Doctors" a few months ago, I actually questioned just how good her doctors really were. While they were delivering this dire, hopeless prognosis, one of them said in an off-handed way, something like the path the cancer was taking in Valerie was unlike any they'd seen before. I was incredulous that none of the doctors on the panel even questioned it. My immediate questions were "Could they have the wrong diagnosis?", "How could they possibly accurately predict the outcome and strip her of all hope if they hadn't seen the cancer react like this before?". I so hope they were wrong and she's going to beat this and live a long and happy life. She's one amazing lady.
Doctors do not have crystal balls – they never know for sure how long a person has. They are usually very accurate, but the biology of the human body is still a mystery. If they said they thought she had three to six months, then they were probably convinced that the progression was unstoppable. Do not take their estimation error here to indicate that they are wrong in general, or that they misdiagnosed her.
A friend of a friend got lung cancer this summer – he was 31. It snuck up on him, and they gave him three months at most. He died within three weeks.
I didn't even know who you were, I never watched the Mary Tyler Show but I was deeply touched when you announced your TIME so I prayed...I've included you in my prayers for you to be delivered from the Cancer and for you to live a longer life.
It is the power of prayer.
Val, do you know how many people have prayed for you just based "knowing" you from the MTM and Rhonda?
Please included me in that number.
I loved watching Rhonda and you seem like such a nice and real person.
God's continued Blessings.
blah blah blah, you cant seriously believe praying does anything? this is 2013, I can't believe people still think this way...
Doug really?? They've done "your" scientific studies on prayer and what it actually does to the body...look it up and then post.
Mostest, she played RHODA on Mary Tyler Moore Show. And yes, hoping for restored health to Valerie.
You call her Val like you know her but think her character was Rhonda??? What a bafoon.
Great news. Just think it might be a good idea to forget the dancing show and save your energy for more enjoyable pursuits. I am surprised her doctors will clear her for such a strenuous assault on her recovering health. Best of luck in any event!
Why? She's 74 years old and knows she's going to die. Why not go out living life to the fullest instead of just sitting around waiting for death?
Heavy exercise is not generally a bad thing to do if you have cancer, unless the treatments leave you weak. Plus, she might as well do it now. Even if she beats the cancer and lives thirty more years, she will never be in as good a shape as she is now... so she should dance now if she ever wants to do it.
Remission is a beautiful word. Good news.
I'm so happy!!! I don't personally know this woman and it actually made me cry! I just love this news! All the best to her!
We love Val...my friends use too call me Rhoda because of my ny/nj accent when I was younger...I love you val
we love val and we will be right there front and center too support her in time of need.
We wish her all the best and the press will be following her story every step of the way,
is not well but with the strength of praying her remission will be with us and we will make sure she is guided every step of the way....nsync just did a salute too her this morning. Go Val you make our town proud.
This is wonderful news. May is long continue!
we wish her well also.
Valerie you are a very sick woman but remember we are right there watching you every step of the way.
What fabulous news! I remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show and she was hysterical. She is well loved by so many, and I might add this is one of the first threads of comments on CNN that has had no name-calling or vile hateful comments!!! Speaks volumes for how well-regarded Ms. Harper is.
we so agree and that is why those people were reported.
This is great news! I've been a fan of hers since the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She's the only star I share the same birthday with. Happy Belated Birthday Valerie!
Good for Ms. Harper. We are all terminal. Live each day as if it were your last, because one day, it will be.
We know Valerie is very sick the important thing is that she knows what the consequences and she was informed of them. Go Val we are with you all the time.
You just GO girl...I am behind you 100%-
It looks like my prayers for her are working!
Yay Valerie Harper!
This is awesome news , I saw a promo for a show she was on on Me-TV yesterday and wondered how her battle was going . Later last night heard she's putting up a great battle . You GO Valerie !!!!!!!!!!!!
Good News!! Keep up the fight Valerie, you can do it!!
fantastic news and I will pray for her every day.
Thanks for the wonderful tear jerker, CNN.
Fight, Valerie, fight! You've made the world a better place with your smile; your "you".
Your words are perfect Sherlock. Valerie is one heck of a woman! She has all of us behind her.
He has her back which is what will be important
This fabulous news has made my day! If you are reading this please know I have been thinking and praying for you so so much. We love you Valerie.
she is in my Prayers.
do you girl!!!
I love Valerie .... she has the best eyes.
I don't have too many points stored up with God but I will spend them on a prayer for Valerie.
Don't think God has a scoreboard of points for each of us. The Bible says He loves us regardless of what we have done. It also says the prayer of a righteous (believing) person is powerful and effective. Your prayers for Valerie, or anyone else, including yourself, will be heard and is never a waste of time. I used to be a nonbeliever, but I took a leap of faith and am so glad I did.
Wonderful news team nsync :)
Wonderful news. Team Rhoda! :)
May be she can hold out and negotiate with Mr Death.
Valerie is up for negotiations–not a problem
This news will make her feel better, and her fans will rejoice for her recovery, however, all too often with cancer the issue becomes her heart takes more than expected harm, and fails. So, the cancer may not get the chance to do her in, but her heart may. Best outcomes Ms Harper...
Good point. My aunt had breast cancer, but the cancer didn't kill her. The blood clot from the surgery she had, combined with the chemo side effects, is what did her in.
I agree a clot can be controlled
I believe she will be divorced a second time ... as long she has health that's all that matters.
Wow..RUDE. Love her! Good thoughts her way.
Such good news. I can't thank god unless I blame god for it happening at all, but I'm happy for Valerie.
second or third marriage
Congrats Ms. Harper. I still remember my Mother meeting you when you were with Youban coffee. The t-shirts were neat! Chemo can be a drag. I know. Just do not ask me about 2011! Prayer does help, and support. Hope you keep recieving that. You are a rare gem. Whitney
I am so happy she is in remission and doing well.
This is indeed wonderful news. Call it what you want with medical terms, but a breath of life is a breath of life. Beautiful. Thank you for adding another smile to my day! Keep strong Valerie. From this ongoing line of comments, it would seem you have a lot of well-wishers in the world! Amen. Keep fighting the good fight. The prayers will flow. God bless you.
Good way to get the publicity to get back in the limelight. MeTV was ignoring her until this.
Great news. You show them girl.
Check out these research groups....you could help if you have a computer
What great news for Valerie! I'm sure her outlook has helped with her 'remission'. I do hope she will be on Dancing with the stars – she would be great.
Great news! She has always seemed to be a person that you could just hang out and have fun with– not pretentious. You get back what you put out, and Valerie has been a positive, vibrant person. While I now the diagnosis still hangs over her, the fact that she may be able to enjoy a Holiday with her family this year is awesome.
This would be great news! Valerie Harper is a wonderful person and talented actress.
And this is why we should continue our prayers for Valerie. The power of prayer heals. I have seen it! I have experienced it! Jesus is Lord and He still heals today!
we'll keep the prayer chain going valerie.
For some reason when dealing with patients most doctors always start with the worst case scenario. I suppose anything that happens on the plus side of these kinds of diagnoses can only make them look good. I'd take everything they say with a very large grain of salt.
It's because if they present a positive scenario and things go badly, they get sued.
wow your keen and smart too
As an old boss of mine used to say, under commit and over perform.....
Or as Scotty once said in Star Trek "Ya never tell the Capt'n how long it'll REALLY take you to fix the warp engines. Otherwise how would he think you're the miracle worker that ya are."
Valerie, I know you won't be reading this, but God knows, you have been in my and many other's prayers. I hope you stay happy and dance like nobody's watching. God has very special plans for you, here on earth and in heaven. You are loved, and no doubt you can feel God's love, It's written all over your smiling face. All the glory to God, he has you cradled in his arms.
I am so happy for Valerie!! I am a 20 year survivor of GBMIV brain cancer. It can be done. so happy to see she is doing so well. Hopefully she can be a well known spokesperson for research funding. until now we have no celebrity voices .
How nice of you to post that you are a survivor; no doubt you will give someone out there relief and hope as they battle this illness. Bless you! Congratulations on being a 20 year survivor. All the best to you!
It is indeed inspiring to hear that you are a survivor. I presume you have Glioblastoma Multiforme. Our Mother had it and died less than a year from her diagnosis and since her passing , I have learned of cases of survivors, yours being by far one of the longest I have heard of. That is truly wonderful. I really wish our Mother had been one of the survivors and presume the Lord wanted her home. I certainly think Valerie Harper's news is wonderful and is a far cry from her prognosis a few months ago. This is wonderful news for her , as is yours and the other survivors. Thank God !
All the best to Valerie. Her show Rhoda was and is my favorite show of all time. My husband and I watch her old shows all the time. Thank God. It's too bad the younger actresses of today aren't more like her. She's the kind of woman I'd be glad to have as my best friend.
What amazing courage Valerie has. She's so inspirational. I love this woman and wish her all the best.
Wonderful news! I just love her! She is a funny, beautiful woman who deserves all the best.
Always found her delightful, as an actress and a person. Hoping for the best.
THANK YOU JESUS!
She has always been a positive role model and this is just great news. Miracles happen all the time. Thank you God and thank you doctors!
All the best & continuing good health news, to my 1st celebrity crush!
While working as a waiter in my youth in Los Angeles, I met a lot of stars.
Valerie Harper was the nicest, warmest n most gracious.
Good luck beautiful. We're all praying for you. ;)
I'm so thrilled to hear the news that she may go into possible remission.She's still a vital and energetic, fun, talented woman with such an incredible spirit.She opened up my eyes just by listening to her.She's the kind of woman that all women would want as their friend.She's always been such a lovely person in all of her shows.. I'm happy for her & hopefully she will defy all odds and they will somehow find a cure..she has good doctors I can see that..That's a true plus Very down to earth.. just love her!!
Thank you Zeus and Thor, oh and Posideon.
Posting an ad under this story makes YOU undatable. No site is going to help your poor manners.
She will in remission forever because that is the way god wants it.
I didn't know that God was Kristen or that Kristen was God. Let civility prevail and prayers to Valerie Harper.
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