updated 08/29/2013 AT 11:30 AM ET
•originally published 08/29/2013 AT 11:45 AM ET
Six months ago, Valerie Harper was ready to say goodbye. But now, she has received some shockingly optimistic news.
The actress, 74, who was diagnosed last winter with a form of terminal cancer, showed striking improvement in her condition on a recent scan.
“I’d say that we’re getting pretty close to a remission. It defies the odds,” her doctor, neuro-oncologist Jeremy Rudnick, said in a taped segment on Thursday’s Today show.
Harper, who despite her illness will reportedly be a contestant on the next season of Dancing with the Stars, has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a form of cancer that strikes the membranes surrounding the brain.
In March, she was given three to six months to live. And while her disease is incurable, this latest news buys her more time.
“It’s not curable, there’s no question. It has to be managed,” Harper says. Still, she and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, are clearly thrilled.