Is Valerie Harper Risking Too Much For 'Dancing With The Stars'

Is Valerie Harper Risking Too Much For 'Dancing With The Stars'

There's concern today about the casting of terminally ill cancer patient Valerie Harper on the new season of Dancing With The Stars.

The New York Daily News calls her "Valiant Valerie" but points out that "the woman is dying, and rehearsals...are grueling."

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd spoke to ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, and author of Tell Me The Truth Doctor.

Boyd asked, "Is she putting her life in danger by competing on Dancing With the Stars?"

Dr. Besser replied, "No. I think just the opposite. If you are someone who is embracing life, who's using your body, there are studies that show that improves the outcome from cancer treatment."

Online reaction to Harper's decision to compete is almost universally positive."Go Valerie Harper! Either win or lose, you have such a positive attitude that nothing is going to stop you!!!!" wrote one fan on Facebook.

Six months ago 74-year-old Harper was given 3-to-6 months to live.

Dr. Besser said, "That is statistics, and what I always say to a patient is that applies to the whole population, and it may not apply to you."

Boyd asked, "So, Valerie's situation, is she exceeding expectations? How would you judge what's going on in her situation?"

"She's clearly exceeded what is normal for someone who has that type of cancer. It's a wonderful thing," answered Besser.

Harper will change her drug regimen to accommodate the rigorous physical demands of the live show.

Her husband Tony Cacciotti tells People magazine, "After she takes it, she doesn't feel good for about a day-and-a-half. So right after the show on Monday nights, she'll take it and then take a break from practices until Wednesday afternoons."

Dr. Besser said, "It's critically important that she listens to her body, and if one day she gets up and says, 'I just can't do it' then she takes a break that day. But apart from that, she's got to go for it."

Ironically, on the day the Dancing With the Stars announcement was made, Hot In Cleveland aired its highly-touted reunion of Valerie and her legendary TV buddy, Mary Tyler Moore. 

Many viewers were shocked to see Mary looking very frail. The 76-year-old actress has struggled with diabetes and other health issues for more than 40 years.

Two brave TV icons who refuse to give up, together again.