Valerie Harper's Terminal Brain Cancer "Pretty Close to a Remission," Says Her Doctor

By Rebecca Macatee
|  Thursday, Aug 29, 2013  |  Updated 3:53 PM CDT
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2013 Celeb Baby Boom

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Valerie Harper

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Valerie Harper went public with her terminal brain cancer diagnosis in March 2013, but five months later, things are looking hopeful for the beloved "Mary Tyler Moore" star.

In fact, according to her doctor, the 74-year-old actress is "getting pretty close to remission." But, as Dr. Jeremy Rudnick explained in an interview excerpted on "Today," Thursday, Aug. 29, the rare form of cancer will still be fatal.

"It defies the odds," he explained of Valerie's response to chemotherapy as well as alternative treatments like acupuncture, but he explained that her leptomeningeal carcinomatosis will "develop resistance to the therapy." Meaning? "It's not a matter of if (the cancer becomes resistant)," said Dr. Rudnick, "it's a matter of when."

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

And Harper interjected cheerily, "We're looking at Christmas!"

"Life is about buying time," her physician said.

Harper agreed, saying "Exactly...That's what I always say."

The excerpted interview with Meredith Vieira is part of an hour-long documentary about Harper's battle with cancer which airs Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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