E! News anchor Maria Menounos is stepping away from her job at the network as she takes time to undergo treatment for a recently discovered brain tumor, Variety reports. Menounos, who had been with E! News since 2014, tells People she started feeling lightheaded, experiencing headaches, and slurring her speech in February, and an MRI soon after revealed she had a meningioma tumor the size of a golf ball—all while she was tending to her mother, who's fighting her own battle against stage 4 brain cancer. "I didn't cry. I actually laughed," Menounos says, calling it "surreal" and "crazy" that she had fallen ill at the same time as her mom, with a similar condition.
Menounos had a seven-hour surgery in early June to get rid of 99.9% of the tumor, which turned out to be benign. Her doctor says there's a "6 to 7% chance that we'll see it come back," she says, adding, "I'll take those odds any day." Although she says her face is still "numb" (the tumor had been pressing against her facial nerves), Menounos is recovering with the help of her fiance, Keven Undergaro, whom she's been with for two decades. And her mother, Litsa, is now stable in her own illness. Menounos pleads with other women "caretakers" to look after themselves, noting she's glad she acknowledged her symptoms. "We put ourselves last," she says. "If your car is making a weird noise, you take it to the mechanic. How come when our body is making weird noises, we ignore it?" (A dad in Wales says Facebook helped him discover his brain tumor.)