Clarification was needed thanks to an exclusive interview published in the latest issue of Closer Weekly magazine, in which the reporter quoted Harper as saying she was "cancer-free."
The mix-up occurred when Harper tried to convey her excitement about a recent full-body scan, during which her doctor told her that in the 30 years he had been practicing medicine, Harper was the only leptomeningeal carcinomatosis ("lepto") cancer patient he had seen without other cancers already present.
"I had just had my yearly full-body scan to determine if this sneaky cancer had migrated to other parts of my body. Therefore, in completing that part of the story, I told the reporter with excitement that I was cancer-free," Harper said in a statement. "But what I meant to say was that my full-body scan revealed that I was still thankfully cancer free. What all parties want to be made clear now is that while the lepto has not spread, I am still not cured. I am a cancer patient, and I continue to fight with the hope that a cure may be just around the corner."
Harper, who famously played Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore" show, has been raising cancer awareness since she was diagnosed with lepto in January 2013 and told that she had three to six months to live.
This is not the 74-year-old Harper's first brush with cancer; she battled
Harper didn't win the competition, but she drummed up plenty of support from admiring fans who were heartened to see how active and positive she was.