E! News correspondent Maria Menounos has experienced a series of life-changing events in just the last few months. Not only is she expecting a child with husband Keven Undergaro via surrogate, she also revealed that she was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer in January.
Now cancer free, the 44-year-old star told Today she underwent surgery to remove part of her pancreas and her spleen. Initially she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and prescribed insulin, but a month later she began experiencing abdominal pain.
“I had excruciating abdominal pain again, coupled with—TMI—should we say loose stool? And I did all the appropriate things. I did all the stool tests, nothing came back. I went to the hospital, they did a CAT scan. Everything was unremarkable. Anytime I complained about it thereafter was like, well we just scanned, and everything is fine,” she told Hoda Kotb. “But I kept feeling, over here in my upper left quadrant, this throbbing. Something was bothering me. Something was wrong.”
“Early Enough” Detection
Menounos said she was at a party for Anastasia Soare when a representative for Prenuvo, the full-body MRI company, came up to her and urged her to get a scan. “You have to know what scans do what. So, an MRI is different than a CAT scan is different than an ultrasound, and some things are better in one of those buckets.”
What the MRI found was a 3.9 cm. mass on her pancreas, which a biopsy confirmed was Stage 2 pancreatic cancer. The diagnosis was not her first experience with a health scare. She underwent surgery for a brain tumor in 2017. “I’m like, ‘How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?’“ she shared with People. “All I could think was that I have a baby coming.”
The beloved reporter believes her cancer diagnosis was a wake-up call and hopes to help others be proactive about their health. “I need people to know there are places they can go to catch things early,” Menounos told Hoda. “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.”