Tony Nominee Valerie Harper Not Absolutely "Cancer-Free"

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16 Apr 2014

Valerie Harper, the Tony Award-nominated actress who announced in March 2013 that she had been diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer, has issued a statement about her condition following an interview with Closer magazine that reported she was "cancer-free."



"In response to a recent erroneous quote concerning my health, I am not 'absolutely cancer-free.' I wish I were," Harper said in a statement that countered an initial story by Closer magazine, which Playbill.com reported, that quoted the 74-year-old actress as revealing, "I'm absolutely cancer-free!"

Her statement continued, "Right now what I am is cautiously optimistic about my present condition and I have hope for the future."

In the exclusive interview with Closer magazine, Harper said, "My last scans have been positive, and my doctors are very happy… [The oncologist] looked at the scans and said, 'Oh my God, Valerie, this is very encouraging!'"

Harper, a lung cancer survivor, announced March 6, 2013, that she had been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare, terminal cancer. Given only three-to-six months to live, her diagnosis turned a corner, and neuro-oncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick said in September 2013 that the "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Rhoda" star "was pretty close to remission."

Harper also explained to Closer that her doctor "doesn't use that term, ['remission']. He likes to say, 'I give you a treatment, and it's either responsive or nonresponsive — and you are having a phenomenal response.'"

Additionally, Harper, a Tony nominee for Looped, recently visited NBC's "Today" and said, "I was supposed to be gone before last Easter… What I have is incurable and terminal, but guess what? Not today."

She added that her treatment, given by doctors at Cedars-Sinai, is working, and she is doing acupuncture and drinking herbal tea.

Watch Harper's appearance on "Today":

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