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Maria Menounos, 45, reveals bizarre symptom that appeared after she ate a salad and turned out to be stage 2 pancreatic CANCER


Maria Menounos has revealed the bizarre symptom that led to her being diagnosed with one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

The TV personality, 45, suffered excruciating pain that felt like she was going to ‘explode inside’ after eating farro salad on a flight.

Doctors initially dismissed her bloating symptoms, but after she went to a second hospital for a scan she was diagnosed with stage two pancreatic cancer.

Menounos, who at the time was waiting for her daughter Athena to be born via surrogate, had surgery to remove the 1.5inch tumor and said she was now in remission.

Maria Menounos, 45, from Massachusetts, started to suffer excruciating pain in her abdomen after eating a farro salad. She was eventually diagnosed with stage two pancreatic cancer

Maria Menounos, 45, from Massachusetts, started to suffer excruciating pain in her abdomen after eating a farro salad. She was eventually diagnosed with stage two pancreatic cancer

She has revealed her diagnosis and urged others to advocate for their health, even when doctors tell them that their symptoms are nothing to be concerned about

She has revealed her diagnosis and urged others to advocate for their health, even when doctors tell them that their symptoms are nothing to be concerned about

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer in America, with only one in ten patients surviving more than a year after their diagnosis.

The disease is a less common type of cancer, with about 64,000 cases diagnosed every year — making up three percent of all cancer cases.

But it is normally not detected until later stages when the disease has become more advanced and spread to other areas of the body, making it harder to treat.

This is because it rarely triggers any symptoms in the early stages, and the warning signs can be so subtle they are dismissed as less serious health conditions.

About two-thirds of patients diagnosed with the cancer are over 65 years old, and almost all are older than 45, according to the American Cancer Society. 

Menounos said today that her case highlights the need to listen to symptoms in the body, even when doctors are dismissing them.

She told TODAY that after eating the salad she suffered ‘that kind of pain where you felt like you were going to explode inside’.

‘I thought it was the farro. I thought I must be getting really gluten intolerant and my stomach was not handling this well,’ she added.

Menounos went to her doctor for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy after the stomach pain appeared in 2022, but nothing untoward came up.

She also had a CT scan which also did not find anything — with the results even describing her pancreas as ‘unremarkable’.

But her symptoms persisted, with the TV personality also suffering from diarrhea and in November 2022 again being buckled over in pain.

This led her to go to a separate hospital in January for a full-body MRI scan, which revealed the tumor in her pancreas. She was later told the CT scan missed this because it did not show up as clearly as on the MRI.

She was rushed through for surgery and in February 2023 had the tumor surgically removed along with part of her pancreas and part of the spleen and 17 lymph nodes — which are part of a separate circulatory system in the body for fluids.

The cancer had not spread in her body and she needed no further treatment.

Pancreatic cancer at stage 0

And at stage 1A and 1B

The above pictures show the cancer at stage 0 and stage IA and IB

The above shows pancreatic cancer at stage two, where a tumor has emerged within the pancreas

The above shows pancreatic cancer at stage two, where a tumor has emerged within the pancreas

At stage three the tumor has grown and begun to spread to nearby lymph nodes

At stage three the tumor has grown and begun to spread to nearby lymph nodes

And at stage four it has started to spread to other areas of the body via the bloodstream

And at stage four it has started to spread to other areas of the body via the bloodstream

Menounos is now doing well but continues to keep an eye out for symptoms, logging any concerning feelings in a book so she can keep track.

Her daughter Athena has now turned four months old and she described her as the ‘love of my life’ and ‘my best medicine’.

She’s going to be taught that the No. 1 thing in her life is to be healthy, and then she can achieve and do anything she wants from there,’ Menounos said.

I think that my next chapter of my life is going to be the healthiest because I’ve been forced to really reevaluate my health in such a deep way. It’s changed the course of everything.’

She is revealing her case as part of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month this November.

Dr Julie Fleshman, the president of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said: ‘We are so grateful to Maria and our other PanCAN ambassadors who are so bravely sharing their stories to raise awareness about the importance of early detection for survival.

‘In addition to educating the public about the risks and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, PanCAN will continue to make significant investment in research to find an early detection strategy for this disease.’

Pancreatic cancer triggers few symptoms in the early stages because it grows deep within the abdomen — which also makes it challenging to detect.

Symptoms that are triggered — such as stomach pain and bowel troubles — can also be easily missed or attributed to other health problems.



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