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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 17

Valerie Harper "getting pretty close to remission" from terminal brain cancer, according to doc

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/29/2013 

Valerie Harper's reported inclusion in this fall's Dancing with the Stars cast is suddenly making more sense.

While Harper had previously revealed she was in grave health with terminal brain cancer -- making rehearsing and performing on a physically demanding show like Dancing with the Stars seem a big stretch for the 74-year-old -- she is now doing much better and capable of pulling it off, according to her doctor.

Harper is "getting pretty close to remission," Dr. Jeremy Rudnick, the actress' neruo-oncologist, said during a Thursday appearance on NBC's Today show.

Harper was given less than three months to live back in March after being diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells spread into the membrane surrounding the brain. Doctors initially believed she was unlikely live to see the month of July, but she's still fighting.

"It defies the odds," said Rudnick, adding however, that Harper is still not cured despite her amazing progress.

Cancer can "develop resistance to the therapy. It's not a matter of if [the cancer becomes resistant], it's a matter of when."

Rudnick implied Harper has been granted more time to enjoy life, whether that be short or long-term, but the cancer won't ever be destroyed entirely.

"Life is about buying time," noted Dr. Rudnick.

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

Since announcing her diagnosis, Harper has appeared on Hot in Cleveland and published a memoir entitled I, Rhoda.

Harper's name initially leaked with five other female celebrities who are supposed to be competing on Dancing with the Stars' upcoming seventeenth season on ABC. The network will officially announce the show's cast on Good Morning America on September 4.

Dancing with the Stars is set to premiere on September 16 at 8PM ET/PT.

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