Maria Menounos Shares Battle With Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer While Expecting Baby

When Maria Menounos announced in February she and husband Keven Undergaro are expecting a baby via surrogate, she was privately undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer: "I thought I was a goner."

By Jamie Blynn May 03, 2023 3:42 PMTags
Watch: Maria Menounos Shares Battle With Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer

This was supposed to be Maria Menounos' best year yet.

After struggling to conceive for a decade, she and husband Keven Undergaro announced in early February they are expecting a baby girl via surrogate.

That same month, however, Menounos was privately battling Stage 2 pancreatic cancer, she shared with People. Fortunately, doctors successfully removed a 3.9-inch tumor along with part of her pancreas, her spleen, a large fibroid and 17 lymph nodes.

"This whole year has been trauma, stress, crisis," Menounos, who was diagnosed with and was treated for a brain tumor in 2017, told the outlet. "I had that moment where I thought I was a goner—but I'm okay because I caught this early enough." 

Getting to a place of healing wasn't easy. Over the summer, the 44-year-old began suffering from such severe leg cramps that, as she explained, "I'd scream out loud. I was inconsolable."

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She later learned she had type 1 diabetes—which runs in her family—and began taking insulin and monitoring her glucose. "I was crushing it," a hopeful Menounous recalled. "I felt so good. What else could go wrong?" Well...

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In November, she returned to the hospital with what she called "with excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea."

A CT scan and further testing came back inconclusive, but her pain continued. At one point, she described, she felt "like someone was tearing my insides out."

Finally, a full body MRI revealed a mass on her pancreas, with a biopsy confirming it was cancerous. "I'm like 'How in the freaking world can I have a brain tumor and pancreatic cancer?'" the former E! host said. "All I could think was that I have a baby coming."


Though the surgery was a success, the road to recovery has, admittedly, been difficult, with Menounous—who does not need chemotherapy, just routine scans—struggling to move.

Her family, including Keven and her dad Constantinos, have been her pillars of strength. (Her mom Litsa died in 2017 after a battle with brain cancer.) 

"I'm so grateful and so lucky," Menounos shared, who is counting down the days to her baby's arrival this summer. "God granted me a miracle. I'm going to appreciate having her in my life so much more than I would have before this journey."

Watch: Maria Menounos & Husband Keven Undergaro Expecting 1st Baby

She knows her mom is right there with her, too. "I know my mom had a cup of greek coffee with god and said it's time," Menounos said in February. "So grateful for the blessing in our lives. Cant believe I'm sharing this news without her in the physical, but I know she made it happen on the other side and is going to be with me every step of the way."

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