Maria Menounos' Cancer Journey & Faith
- TV host Maria Menounos, 44, is leaning on faith after battling pancreatic cancer – and having a brain tumor removed and struggling with fertility in previous years.
- In a study published in Cancer, 69% of cancer patients say that they rely on faith throughout cancer treatment, and use prayer as a way to call for good health.
- Researchers who studied the relationship between praying and life expectancy in cancer patients found the power of prayer helps withstand pain and suffering.
- Religious actions can help people “stand the pain and suffering and become hopeful to future,” researchers said in the Journal of Medicine and Life.
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"I had a mission. I have dreamed about going to Aegina," she continued.
Aegina is a small island near Athens, Greece. While visiting the island, Menounos and family visited the tomb of Saint Nektarios.
"Saint Nektariosâ€¦considered a patron saint for people who are suffering from diseases; such as cancer, heart trouble, joint pain, epilepsy, arthritis and more," Menounos explains.
She said while at Nektarios' tomb, she kneeled to pray.
"As I was praying for the people in my life with cancer, I heard a massive bang and started screaming I hear himâ€¦I sobbed with joy," Menounos said referring to Nektarios' spirit she claimed to hear and connect with.
"I like to say believe in the unbelievable because nothing is too far from possible when you believe in St. Nektarios," Menounos added.
It’s clear that Menounos is celebrating life after such trying times.
In another post, she said, "After so many tough days I'm so grateful for these good days.”
The Power of Faith
Maria Menounos is an example of cancer survivors leaning on faith through challenging times.
She is known for her infectious vibrant personality on-screen. Off-screen, the TV journalist has dealt with a series of health challenges.
In June 2017, she underwent a seven-hour brain surgery on her 39th birthday to remove a golf-ball-sized non-cancerous tumor, she explained to NBC's "Today."
Then, in 2021, Menounos’ mom passed away from brain cancer.
The Power of Faith During a Health Challenge
- 7 Cancer Survivors Share How Gratitude, Faith, & Seeking the Good In Life Help Give Them Strength
- Faith Perspective: Opening Yourself Up to Others After a Cancer Diagnosis
- Can Turning To Faith Help You During A Cancer Journey? Some People, And Studies, Say Yes.
- SurvivorNetTV Presents: 'SN & You Turning To Faith’
In November 2022, Menounos started experiencing abdominal pain and diarrhea. An MRI and biopsy revealed the TV host had a stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (NETs or islet cell tumor).
"I'm like '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," Menounos previously told People Magazine.
Menounos is expecting her first child with her husband, a little girl, via surrogacy.
Menounos was lucky to catch the disease early. Pancreatic cancer, which begins in the pancreas, is known as the “silent disease.”
Symptoms of the disease rarely show up until it has advanced and metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body.
Plus, the Cleveland Clinic explains that early-stage pancreatic cancer tumors typically don't appear on imaging scans. And there are no recommended screening routines for this type of cancer.
When pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in later stages, which it most often is, it becomes more difficult to treat.
"I need people to know there are places they can go to catch things early," Menounos exclusively told People. "You can't let fear get in the way. I had that moment where I thought I was a gonerbut I'm okay because I caught this early enough."
She underwent surgery to have the tumor, her spleen, part of her pancreas, 17 lymph nodes and a large fibroid removed this past February.
WATCH: Faith Perspective Opening Yourself Up to Others After a Cancer Diagnosis
While Menounos didn't get too specific about what she prayed for at Saint Nektarios’ tomb, it’s clear that her faith is important to her and helps her through her health journeys.
In a study published in Cancer, 69% of cancer patients say that they rely on faith throughout cancer treatment, and use prayer as a way to call for good health.
Researchers who studied the relationship between praying and life expectancy in cancer patients found the power of prayer helps withstand pain and suffering.
"The patients can overcome their illnesses with the help of praying and of other religious actions, thus helping them gain more power and being able to control their illnesses, as they know a lot about their sickness therefore, they can stand the pain and suffering and become hopeful to future," researchers N. Hekmati Pour and H. Hojjati said in the Journal of Medicine and Life.
Questions for Your Doctor
If you are recently diagnosed and concerned about the journey ahead of you, consider asking your doctor some questions.
- Is my cancer localized or has it spread?
- What kind of treatment options do I have to overcome the cancer?
- Will my treatment come with side effects?
- Will I be able to continue working and normal daily activities while I undergo treatment?
- What resources are available to me to help my mental health and finances?
- Are there local groups near me that can help me during my journey?
- Is a social worker available to help me navigate these resources?