Maria Menounos had been an E! News anchor since 2015, but after stepping down to deal with a benign brain tumor, now removed, she's encouraging women to put themselves first and listen to their bodies.
In an interview with People, Maria said that by paying attention to her mother, who is battling stage 4 brain cancer, she was able to recognize the symptoms in herself that led to her own diagnosis.
Menounos told People:
"For me, sharing this story is important on so many levels. I hate secrets. I also want to help women realize that they have to put themselves first. I wouldn't have ever known or imagined that this was going on if I hadn't seen the symptoms in my mom. I want to encourage people to find some stillness in their life so they can listen to their bodies—and hear what's going on."
On June 8th, Menounos's 39th birthday, she underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove the golf-ball sized meningioma, but she is now recovering:
“I don’t have my balance fully yet but as long as I’m holding on to Keven [her fiance], I’m sturdy and fine. My face is still numb. This is something that takes at least a month of healing, but I’m getting stronger and stronger every day and I’ll be back to normal very soon."
Menounos is leaving E! News to focus on her health and other projects, but she made it clear that she's telling her story to raise awareness and to encourage women to sit up and take notice when something isn't right:
We’re caretakers as women and we put ourselves last. I tell people all the time 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? I’m so lucky that I went to the doctor and raised the alarm.”
Though the type of brain tumor Menounos had has a 6 to 7 percent chance of recurring, she says, "I'll take those odds any day." And she'll keep listening to her body every day.