When the news that Valerie Harper has been diagnosed with brain cancer broke out, the name of the disease left the majority of the readers confused. With the tragic news gravitating more on the few months the actress has to live, there were little to no details regarding the diagnosis. As many of our readers felt they wanted to know more about it, here is more info to help understand Valerie Harper’s brain cancer diagnosis.
“Rhoda” star Valerie Harper has recently found out that she has an advanced form of brain cancer called Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, or LC. Also referred to as neoplastic meningitis, it is a serious complication of cancer which leads to death. In Mrs. Harper’s case, the doctors told her she has no more than three months to live.
LC is usually associated with a relapse of a previous cancer. Valerie Harper was first confronted with a lung cancer diagnosis in 2009.
It is characterized by the invasion of neoplastic cells (an abnormal mass of cells) in the subarachnoid space (a fluid-filled cavity between two membranes surrounding the brain). The cancerous cells infiltrate along the surface of the brain and spinal cord through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow.
In Harper’s case, the diagnosis is Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which indicates that the malignant cells formed a solid tumor. In cases in which it’s not a solid tumor, but the process is the same, the diagnosis is lymphomatous meningitis.
Symptoms of LC include intracranial pressure, cranial-nerve palsies dues to the tumor infiltration in the brain, seizures and occlusion of blood vessels.
In the case of a previous lung cancer, the median survival is approximately 4 months. For those with LC from breast cancer, it goes up to 7 months.
Valerie Harper will discuss her particular case on “The Doctors”, on March 11.