- Maria Menounos is a journalist and television personality who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
- She was first diagnosed in Jan. 2023.
- During the tough process, she and her husband have been expecting a baby via surrogate.
Maria Menounos, 45, shocked her fans in the beginning of May 2023, when she revealed she had secretly undergone treatment for pancreatic cancer. The journalist, who is expecting her first child via surrogate, was first diagnosed in Jan. 2023 and admitted she had surgery She called the process “painful” and explained how it affected her, in an interview with PEOPLE.
“It was super painful,” she told the outlet. “I couldn’t move or lift myself up.” Her husband, Keven Undergaro, whom she’s been married to since 2017, has been by her side as she continues to recover from the illness and they await the arrival of their little one. In the same year they got married, Maria had to undergo surgery for a meningioma, an intracranial tumor that was benign, and she later recovered.
Find out more about Maria’s cancer battle below.
Maria Menounos Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer
After her benign brain tumor was removed, Maria encountered more health issues in June 2022. She started having leg cramps and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She treated it by taking insulin and monitoring her diet and by Oct. 2022, she said she “felt so good” and was “crushing it,” but a month later, she started having “excruciating abdominal pain and diarrhea.”
Although she was initially told “everything was fine,” she continued to have pain and had a full body MRI, which revealed she had a mass on her pancreas. Doctors diagnosed it as stage 2 pancreatic cancer and Maria couldn’t believe it. “I’m like, ‘How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?’” she wondered. “All I could think was that I have a baby coming.”
Maria’s treatment for her diagnosis included surgery to have the 3.9 cm tumor removed, along with her spleen, a large fibroid and 17 lymph nodes. “It was super painful,” she said in an interview with PEOPLE. “I couldn’t move or lift myself up.”
What Is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is when a tumor or tumors grow in your pancreas, an organ in your abdomen that’s behind the lower part of your stomach. The pancreas “releases enzymes that aid digestion and produces hormones that help manage your blood sugar,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The website says that the most common type of cancer that forms in the pancreas “begins in the cells that line the ducts that carry digestive enzymes out of the pancreas (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma).”
Since pancreatic cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it has spread to other organs, it’s usually not detected early, when it’s most curable. Some of the symptoms include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, yellowing of skin and/or the whites of eyes, light colored stool, dark colored urine, itchy skin, new diagnosis of diabetes, and blood clots. When it comes to treatment, the options depend on the individual and the stage of the cancer. They include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combo of two or three.
How Long Has Maria Menounos Been Sick?
As mentioned before, Maria first started feeling ill in June 2022, when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her abdominal pain caused her to get looked at further and it resulted in her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in Jan. 2023. She went on to have surgery and has been recovering throughout the first half of the year.
How Is Maria Menounos Today?
Maria found out about her diagnosis early enough to be given a “good prognosis” before her surgery. “I need people to know that there are places they can go to catch things early,” she said after the process. “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.”
In May 2023, it was reported that Maria would not need any additional treatment after her surgery, but she does need to get annual scans to keep an eye on her condition for the next five years. She is now focusing on welcoming her new addition, who’s been confirmed to be a girl and is expected in the summer of 2023. “I’m so grateful and lucky,” Maria said. “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.”