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Actress Valerie Harper says she's cancer free

On Wednesday actress Valerie Harper, best known for her role on Rhoda, announced, "I'm absolutely cancer-free!" in an article with Closer magazine she says, "My last scans have been positive, and my doctors are very happy."

Valerie Harper
Valerie HarperGetty images

Last March, Harper, 74, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. At the time, doctors told her she could have just a few more months to live. However, a few weeks ago, her medical team was astounded by her test results.

Brain-Surgery.com says, "Inoperable tumors are those located in an inaccessible place in the brain, or those that are composed of multiple tumors that cannot all be removed. The key issue is the location of the tumor(s) and whether or not the surgeon feels he or she can access it without damaging critical brain areas around it, such as those needed for speech, movement, and other essential functions of the body. The objective of radiation therapy is to selectively killing tumor cells while avoiding damaging healthy brain tissue nearby. To accomplish this goal, standard external beam radiation is administered in “fractions”, or doses, to the brain."

Harper says, "[The oncologist] looked at the scans and said, ‘Oh my God, Valerie, this is very encouraging!' I’m now the poster child for not believing everything I’m told."

Though Harper said that her doctor will not use the 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,'" she said — she noted that she feels much better. She's also cutting down her visits to the doctor to just once every eight weeks, and she's taking a "pulse dose" of medication once each week.

"There may come a time when I'm not feeling good," she said. "But then again, that time may never come."