TODAY   |  September 19, 2013

Valerie Harper keeping positive about her cancer

Actress Valerie Harper tells TODAY about her battle with cancer and her recent decision to compete on “Dancing with the Stars,” explaining that she wants to help remove the stigma from people struggling with cancer.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> valerie harper . she has been going through incurable cancer. we will talk to her in a moment. first, meredith viera spent time with valerie and her daughter on mother's day? today is mother's day and christine is coming over.

>> the very best thing i had done in my life is adopt christina.

>> oh, honey, it's beautiful. oh, i love it. i know just where i'll put it.

>> every minute with her is definitely a miracle. at this point it is definitely a miracle.

>> the impatients like to jump the ship.

>> they do.

>> they like to hang out in one pochlt oh, lock, there is a spot over here and jump. they take over like a weed.

>> or cancer. junk going on tour. they're not wanted.

>> it was mother's day, i was going to be easy on you.

>> oh, honey, no, i'm doing well. i'm doing very well. please.

>> are there things that you are not saying to your mom right now?

>> how afraid i am. you know, i don't let her know that i cry, that i think about her all the time. i don't want her to be grieving because i'm grieving.

>> because let's face it, this is the day to celebrate us.

>> you are the best of the best . here's to another day of being together and to next here.

>> oh, hone, that's beautiful. thank you.

>> i love you so much.

>> i know things happen and that's all i can do to prepare. it will happen and hopefully not today.

>> and valerie harper is with us this morning. meredith is here with us as well. valerie , good morning, it is so good to see you. i was at your house in march. i a him so happy to see you looking so good. how are you feeling? what are the doctors saying about your health right now?

>> oh, it's really positive news. it's incurrable but we're moving in the right direction, savannah, since i saw you at my house. you were there in march. i, each ascent brain scan has been an improvement. they don't expect that with this meningenerial carcinoma.

>> you use this word incurable and you signed up to take part in " dancing with the stars ," people say, how ould could that possibly be? why did you make that decision?

>> i did it toanter that question because there is so many people living with cancer and even dying with it but not of it. and you got to get the message out there. lung cancer , in particular, a terrible zev devastating disease and greatly misunderstood. so i wanted to take this opportunity to share that 60% of the new cases are non-smokers and they've stigmatized the disease. it kills more men and women than all other cancers put together. so i thought this is a good chance to do it. do " dancing with the stars ," since my doctors have told me to exercise and not to worry, you know, about any physical problem with the kind of cancer i have. i thought, why not do it? go back. 50 years ago, i what was a professional dancer. but, you know the problem i'm having is my knee.

>> yeah. so are we.

>> not the cancer. they're 74-year-old knees. i'm just hanging in. but i decided, my husband tony said, val, because you have cancer, get out there and show people that it's possible and they got to keep moving , like my old dance teacher luigi always said, never stop moving. i think that's god. live your life while are you alive and while are you well enough. take each day as it comes and live it fully.

>> when i noticed when we were doing the documentary, vam, she's the one with the illness. yet, she got most emotional. you know this during the times she was talking about her husband tony.

>> that often happens with couples.

>> he 's wonderful . right by her side. i bet a pretty god trainer for your dancing as well. we love seeing you doing so well. thank you for being with us. we really appreciate it.

>> and pleads i love my meredith .

>> yeah, we do, too.

>> girlfriend.

>> thanks, valley.

>> see you tonight.

>> see you tonight. it is of course i wrote it. if you have a chance to see it. meredith will continue tomorrow on her goingle hangout leave on friday. can you see valerie 's story. 10:00 eastern, 9:00 central time right here on nb tr.