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Exclusive: Valerie Harper says cancer conspiracy theories are 'beyond stupid'

Sep. 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM ET

Actress Valerie Harper has been sharing her battle against terminal brain cancer with the public since she first revealed her diagnosis in March. And on Thursday, an intimate look at her fight will be revealed in the documentary "Valerie's Story," hosted by Meredith Vieira, on NBC.

In an unaired clip from the special, the former "Rhoda" star talks about how hard things have been for her husband, Tony Cacciotti, and not only because he has to watch his wife cope with her disease. It turns out some people are holding him accountable for whether or not she survives.

The 74-year-old star even reveals that "some horrible guy keeps calling Tony" to accuse him of killing the actress: " 'John Wayne, Michael Landon, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze and (Steve) McQueen and now Rhoda, the love of my life, all of you dying needlessly,' " Harper reads to her doctor. 

On top of that, she said the "crazy" person is even "talking about conspiracy theories," with the biggest one being that "doctors are holding back a cure for cancer so they can make money with pharma."

"It's so stupid," she declares. "It's beyond stupid, and it's ugly."

Cacciotti himself tells Vieira that people have asked them to try things he considers "outlandish," but "you can't jump at every whim that's out there regarding a cure."

But the treatments Harper has chosen to combat the disease — chemotherapy, acupuncture and a Chinese tea — seem to be working for now. Late last month, an advanced look at "Valerie's Story" on TODAY showed her neuro-oncologist saying Harper was "pretty close to a remission. It defies the odds."

Harper's condition has improved enough that she has even joined the latest season of "Dancing With the Stars." She made her ballroom debut on Monday alongside pro partner Tristan MacManus, and brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.

"Valerie's Story" airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on NBC. Check out her appearance on TODAY Thursday, where she discussed why she joined "Dancing With the Stars," too!


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