Valerie Harper has booked her first television appearance since announcing that she has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Harper, 73, has been given as little as three months to live, and has decided to talk to the co-hosts of the daytime syndicated show The Doctors about how the news affected her family and how she plans to spend what time she has left.
Harper, who co-starred on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Rhoda, was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of brain cancer called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in January. However, Harper did not initially know about the severity of her diagnosis. Harper says that her husband, Tony Cacciotti, hid her prognosis from her because it was so poor. “I didn’t get it because my husband hid it," Harper said. "Poor baby -- he was so bereft.” Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis is a rare disease in which cancer cells spread into the membrane that surrounds the brain. The Doctors co-host and ER physician Dr. Travis Stork will address on the program why this particular form of cancer is so difficult to treat.
Appearing alongside Harper on the show will be her husband Tony and her Mary Tyler Moore castmates Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center physicians who are treating Harper’s brain cancer, Dr. Jeremy Rudnick and Dr. Ronald Natale, will also appear on the show. The interview will air on Monday, and Dr. Travis Stork says that it is a testament to the actress’s strength and character. “I have to tell you I am blown away by her resilience and her resolve in the face of such a dire, dire diagnosis,” said Stork.