TV icon Valerie Harper Wednesday denied reports claiming she is free of the cancer with which she was diagnosed in January 2013.
"In response to a recent erroneous quote concerning my health, I am not 'absolutely cancer-free.' I wish I were," Harper said in a statement from the Hallmark Channel, for which she is promoting "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," a new series in which she guests in a two-episode arc. "Right now what I am is cautiously optimistic about my present condition, and I have hope for the future."
Closer Weekly, in an interview published Wednesday, quoted the four-time Emmy Award winner, 74, as saying, "I'm absolutely cancer-free!"
According to the magazine, Harper said, "My last scans have been positive, and my doctors are very happy," adding that her oncologist "looked at the scans and said, 'Oh my God, Valerie, this is very encouraging!' "
The actress, who successfully fought lung cancer in 2009, had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. She began receiving chemotherapy, but her doctors suggested she had as little as three months before succumbing.
"The doctors can only say, 'In my experience, this cancer kills people and it's incurable,' " she told the magazine. When asked if she was in remission, she replied, "My doctor doesn't use that term. He likes to say, 'I give you a treatment, and it's either responsive or nonresponsive -- and you are having a phenomenal response.' "
Harper -- who received a Tony Award nomination for her starring role as Tallulah Bankhead in the Broadway seriocomedy "Looped" in 2010 -- competed on the 17th season of "Dancing With the Stars" last year while fighting the cancer. She and professional dancer Tristan MacManus were the third duo eliminated.