Maria Menounos Reveals Secret Battle with Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer and Urges Others to Seek Early Diagnosis

Maria Menounos and her husband, Keven Undergaro, are expecting a baby girl this summer via a surrogate. After years of struggling to become parents, they are ecstatic to welcome their newcomer. Maria Menounos Reveals

Maria Menounos Reveals Secret Battle with Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer
Maria Menounos Reveals

However, throwing a lavish baby shower isn’t a priority for the couple. Menounos stated, “This year has been trauma, stress, crisis. There was a minute when we were planning something, and it became too much. I thought, ‘I just need to heal.'”

After almost three months of recovery, Menounos opened up to PEOPLE about her secret battle with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in this week’s issue. The former E! News correspondent and host of the “Heal Squad” podcast, diagnosed in January, underwent successful surgery to remove a 3.9-cm Tumor.

Maria Menounos Reveals Secret Battle with Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer
Maria Menounos Reveals Maria Menounos Reveals Maria Menounos Reveals Maria Menounos Reveals

Now, she is on a mission to encourage others to seek answers to their health problems. “I need people to know there are places they can go to catch things early. 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.”

Menounos is no stranger to health battles. In 2017, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and underwent treatment. However, this recent diagnosis came as a surprise to the health-focused star. “I was feeling so good, and then I got slapped in the face with a new diagnosis,” says Menounos, who started experiencing severe leg cramps last June.

A trip to the hospital revealed that she had type 1 diabetes, which runs in her family. By October, “I was crushing it,” says Menounos, who still takes insulin daily and wears a glucose monitor. But a month later, she was back in the hospital, this time “with excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea.”

After a CT scan and extensive testing showed nothing, Menounos agreed to do a whole-body MRI with a company called Prenuvo. The test revealed a 3.9 cm. mass on her pancreas, with a subsequent biopsy confirming that it was a Stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, a form of cancer. Menounos was surprised by this diagnosis, saying, “How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer? All I could think was that I have a baby coming.”

Due to the early stage at which she caught it, Menounos was given a good prognosis and underwent surgery to remove the tumor along with part of her pancreas, spleen, a large fibroid, and 17 lymph nodes. Although the medical ordeal was painful, Menounos is grateful for the support of her husband and father, who helped her through the recovery. Menounos’ doctors say she does not require chemotherapy or additional treatment, just annual scans for the next five years.

“I’m so grateful and so lucky,” says Menounos, who is putting the finishing touches on her baby’s nursery and is excited to have a small meet-and-greet once she arrives. “God granted me a miracle. I will appreciate having her in my life much more than I would have before this journey.” In addition, Menounos hopes her story will inspire others to seek medical attention and catch health problems early.

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