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Maria Menounos reveals battle with brain tumor, says it's a 'blessing'

The 39-year-old TV host opened up for the first time about her health scare in an interview with People magazine.
/ Source: TODAY

Nearly a year after her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Maria Menounos is speaking out for the first time about her own health scare.

The E! News co-anchor has revealed to People magazine that she recently underwent risky surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Menounos, 39, said her diagnosis came after she told a doctor that she’d been experiencing dizziness, headaches and slurred speech.


“I said, ‘I know you’re going to think I'm crazy but I feel like I have a brain tumor like my mom,’” she recalled.

Her doctors ran some tests and found a golf ball-sized tumor in her brain.

Her reaction: "I didn't cry. I actually laughed. It's so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor — and now I have one too?"

Fortunately, it was not cancerous. She had surgery to remove the tumor last month and her prognosis is hopeful.

A doctor told her there's a 6- to 7-percent chance the tumor will come back, but, she adds, "I'll take those odds any day."

She said that she doesn't have her full balance yet, and her face is still numb.

"This is something that takes at least a month of healing, but I'm getting stronger and stronger every day and I'll be back to normal very soon," she told People.

Menounos is maintaining a positive attitude about both her situation and that of her mother, who has stage 4 brain cancer.

“I knew from the very beginning that this was a blessing and this was a gift. I even knew it with my mom because it brought our whole family together,” she said. “I think that there have been a lot of beautiful things that have come even just from my mom’s illness.

“For me, I saw it as a huge blessing and a huge gift because I needed to change my life,” she continued, shedding tears.

“It's like ... always thinking you have to be the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect worker, the perfect everything. Like, it's exhausting. And it's not just me. I've said it before, we're caretakers as women and we help everybody and we put ourselves last always.

“And I don't think that we — at least for me — I guess I realized I didn’t value myself in a lot of ways. And so I think that was a really important lesson.”

In the wake of her revelation, Menounos and E! announced Monday that she will step down as co-anchor of the cable network’s news program.

“Our thoughts and support go out to Maria and her family and we wish them all the best knowing that Maria will tackle this with the same fierce dedication she is known for,” E! Entertainment President Adam Stotsky said in a statement. “We are grateful for Maria’s many contributions to E! over the past three years.”

Menounos subsequently thanked her fans for their prayers and support with a moving post on social media.

"I want you all to know that I'm ok! Seriously I'm recovering well and should be as good as new very very soon!" she wrote. "Luckily I don't need any further treatments but I can't say the same about my mom. So please keep her in your prayers."

To see the full video from Menounos’ People magazine cover story, visit the People/Entertainment Weekly app.