Maria Menounos, the Greek-American journalist who formally hosted E! News, revealed that she survived pancreatic cancer.
Menounos told People that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and had the tumor removed in the following month. The journalist previously disclosed that she had a brain tumor removed in 2017.
The Greek-American journalist and actress spoke at length about the physical and mental challenges posed by the cancer diagnosis, especially in light of the birth of her daughter via surrogate, expected later this year in the summer.
Maria Menounos on her cancer diagnosis
Menounos discovered that she had cancer after repeated trips to the hospital. She initially sought treatment for painful leg cramps which led to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
However, she soon started suffering from “excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea,” after discovering she had diabetes, leading to further trips to the doctor. She told People that the pain felt “like someone was tearing my insides out.”
Initial medical investigations left Menounos and her healthcare practitioners none the wiser. A CT scan and other tests showed nothing. After undergoing a comprehensive MRI scan of her entire body, a 3.9 cm growth was discovered, which was subsequently identified as a stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
“I’m like ‘How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?’” reflected Menounos on the second cancer diagnosis she received in her life.
Surgery and recovery
In February, Menounos underwent an operation to remove the tumor, along with a portion of her pancreas, her spleen, a large fibroid, and a total of 17 lymph nodes.
Menounos described the procedure to remove the tumor as “super painful,” adding that “I couldn’t move or lift myself up.”
Thankfully for the 44-year-old journalist, her doctors have confirmed that she will not need chemotherapy or further treatment over the next five years. Menounos will however need periodical scans to ensure that the cancer does not return.
Menounos told People that her experience with cancer and subsequent recovery was particularly poignant given her expectation that she will soon be a mother.
In February, Menounos announced that she and her husband Keven Undergaro, 55, are expecting their first child.
“Just after a decade of trying everything, we are so grateful to the beautiful family helping us conceive our baby,” she said in February during an interview on the chat show Live with Kelly and Ryan.
“Keven, my dad, and I are all beyond excited for this soul to come into our lives. What a blessing,” she added.
Menounos lost her mother Stavroula “Litsa” Menounos on May 2, 2021, to brain cancer and told People in a previous interview that “it’s difficult knowing her mother won’t be able to meet her grandchildren.”
Reflecting again on her own recent battle with cancer, Menounos said “I’m so grateful and so lucky,” she says. “God granted me a miracle. “I’m going to appreciate having [my daughter] in my life so much more than I would have before this journey.”