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Valerie Harper's brain cancer 'close to remission'

The actress is holding her ground in her fight against a rare -- and terminal -- form of brain cancer.
Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Valerie Harper's doctor got be the bearer of good news, grading the 74-year-old actress's brain cancer prognosis.

"I'd say that we're getting pretty close to a remission," said Harper's neuro-oncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick. "It defies the odds."

Harper was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carinomatosis, a form of brain cancer that attacks the membranes surrounding the brain, that was expected to be terminal.

But "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" actress, who is featured in an hour-long documentary on NBC September 19, has bought herself more time.

Rudnick cautions Harper and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, that the good news still comes with a caveat: the cancer will probably develop resistance to the therapy, and that she is still terminal.

"It's not a matter of if," said Rudnick, "it's a matter of when."

Still, Harper can't help but be pleased by the good news.

"Going from having three months to live, or less; we're into our sixth month," Cacciotti said, "and now there's even hope beyond right now we're looking at...."

"We're looking at Christmas!" said Harper.

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