Valerie Harper cancer diagnosis

8:32 AM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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Valerie Harper. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY

Known and loved for her frank and funny role as upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Valerie Harper has revealed she is facing terminal brain cancer.

The actress, 73, tells People magazine (on newsstands Friday) that she got the diagnosis on Jan. 15.

Tests revealed she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. Harper tells the magazine she is opting for chemo, but, according to People, her doctors say she may only have three months left to live.

"I don't think of dying," says Harper, who has been married to Tony Cacciotti since 1987. "I think of being here now."

In 2009, Harper, who described herself as "a lifelong non-smoker," was diagnosed with lung cancer, which she beat. But she tells People now, "I'm well past my expiration date already."

Fans immediately jumped on Twitter to send well-wishes her way. Among them:

Hoda Kotb: "I adore you xoxo we all do and are praying for you"

Andy Cohen: "Praying for Valerie Harper. Puts everything in perspective quickly."

Sally Jessy Raphael: "Tragic news about Valerie Harper. She has terminal brain cancer & just 3 months. Sending prayers, love & gratitude for her wonderful work."


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