Maria Menounos Rings in 44!
- Maria Menounos celebrated her 44th birthday this week, and reflected on all the blessings in her life, despite recent challenges – like losing her mom to brain cancer last year and battling a brain tumor.
- Her mom, Litsa, had glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer and is extremely aggressive; Litsa battled the disease for five years.
- Maria Menounos embraces hope and positivity through hardship, which can help make it easier.
She writes, “Celebrated 44 years on the planet yesterday. Thanks for all the bday wishes everyone:) grateful that God has surrounded me with so many loving people. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about: love and connection…”
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Menounos continues, “Being there for, seeing and helping one other. Life is never going to be easy for any of us-we all have challenges, issues and obstacles. Sometimes many of those things. But the people who we surround ourselves with can help carry us through. That love is really the medicine. I’m grateful I got mine yesterday. Thankful to everyone 🙂 esp this guy.”
Maria Menounos’ Mom’s Brain Cancer Battle
Maria Menounos’ mom, Litsa Menounos, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, one of the most common—and most aggressive—brain tumors in 2016 when she was 61 years old. For those with brain cancer, treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The treatment path will typically depend upon the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer and is extremely aggressive. The life expectancy for those diagnosed with glioblastoma currently stands at two years, but thanks to years of research there may be a new option for those battling the disease.
A relatively new treatment option called Optune was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2015 and is available to adults aged 22 or older. This tumor-treating therapy comes in the form of a cap that attaches to a patient’s head, where electric currents run through adhesive pads. These currents disrupt the division of cancer cells, which can delay the disease from progressing and thus extend the survival time for some patients.
“I just want to emphasize to patients that when I first started doing this in 1999, there were maybe less than 5% of patients with this disease that were alive two years,” Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan, a neuro-oncologist at Tufts Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Now we’re getting out to maybe a third of patients alive at five years. This is not your father’s brain tumor, and I want to sort of give a message of hope to patients. In the future we’ll add to these treatments and make it even better.”
While Menounos was taking care of her mother, she started having strange symptoms like ear pain, dizziness and blurred vision. She told her mother’s doctor, thinking she was crazy that she was having similar issues. After an MRI, they discovered a golf ball-sized (non-cancerous) benign tumor. Menounos underwent 7-hour brain surgery on her 39th birthday in June 2017. And in May 2021, Litsa Menounos passed from brain cancer.
Focusing on the Good Through Health Battles
Focusing on hope, and maintaining a positive attitude through a health battle – as Menounos did – can help. Anecdotal evidence from SurvivorNet experts points to how a positive mindset can impact a cancer prognosis. One oncologist at Cedars-Sinai tells SurvivorNet in an earlier interview, “My patients who thrive, even with stage 4 cancer, from the time that they, about a month after they’re diagnosed, I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK. Now doesn’t that mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow,” he says.
“But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”