Valerie Harper opened up about her terminal brain cancer diagnosis on the show "The Doctors," Monday.
Harper was upbeat and kept a positive attitude as she openly talked about her illness, showing tremendous courage.
The 73-year-old actress, who was diagnosed in January says, "More than anything I'm living in the moment. I really want Americans and all of us to be less afraid of death...don't go to the funeral before the day of the funeral. While you're living, live."
Harper's doctors say she could have as little as three months left to live. Harper focused on the positive: the excellent doctors and health coverage she has and her "greatest husband in the world." Her longtime husband, Tony Cacciotti, also appeared on the show, telling the story about how he learned about the diagnosis.
A series of guests showed up via phone and in studio, including Ed Asner and Cloris Leachman.
Harper and Dr. Travis Stork talked about the medical details and treatment of Harper's disease called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.
NCBI.com says Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis occurs in approximately 5% of patients with cancer. This disorder is being diagnosed with increasing frequency as patients live longer and as neuro-imaging studies improve. The most common cancers to involve the leptomeninges are breast cancer, lung cancer, and melanomas.
Harper successfully beat lung cancer after being diagnosed in 2009.
Harper also was on NBC's "Today" show where she said "it feels awful damn good to be open about it, face it and see what you can do. If you die, you're not a failure. You're just somebody who had cancer, and that's the outcome."
Harper rose to fame for her role as Rhoda on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda." She won four Emmys in the role.