Maria Menounos opened up to People about her secret battle with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed in January, Menounos, 44, underwent surgery to remove a 3.9 cm. tumor and is now on a mission to encourage others to seek answers to their health problems.
“I need people to know there are places they can go to catch things early,” she said. “You can’t let fear get in the way. I had that moment where I thought I was a goner—but I’m okay because I caught this early enough.”
The television presenter is no stranger to health battles, having been diagnosed and treated for a benign brain tumor back in 2017. However, as she was in the midst of celebrating the news that she’d be a mom early last year, this recent cancer diagnosis came as a major shock. “I was feeling so good, and then I got slapped in the face with a new diagnosis,” the actress said. She began suffering from severe leg cramps last June and added, “I’d scream out loud. I was inconsolable.”
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She found out she had type 1 diabetes, which runs in her family, and was prescribed insulin. She also went on a strict diet, began monitoring her glucose levels, and dramatically improved. One month later she was back in the hospital, this time “with excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea.” A CT scan and extensive testing showed nothing. “They said, ‘Everything’s fine.’ But I kept having pains,” she told the publication.
Finally, Menounos did a whole-body MRI and the test revealed the mass on her pancreas, with a subsequent biopsy confirming that it was a Stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, a form of cancer. She was baffled at how she could have both a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer, but all she could think was: “I have a baby coming.”
Thankfully, she caught it at an early stage and removed the tumor along with part of her pancreas, her spleen, a large fibroid and 17 lymph nodes. in February. The star is looking to be in good shape and won’t be needing chemotherapy or additional treatment, just annual scans for the next five years.