Olivia Newton-John is currently fighting cancer for the third time, but doesn’t want to know her prognosis — a sentiment other people with cancer may relate to.
In an interview with “60 Minutes Australia” on Sunday, the “Grease” star shared she is currently in treatment for stage 4 breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and underwent chemotherapy, a partial mastectomy and breast reconstruction. She found out her cancer had returned in 2013 after she discovered a lump on her shoulder. Then in 2017, she announced she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones.
Newton-John told “60 Minutes” she feels so lucky to have been through it three times and is “still here.” But she acknowledged that with a cancer diagnosis comes the realization you may not have as much time left.
“We know we’re gonna die at some point, unfortunately being humans we have that knowledge, and we don’t know when it is. When you’re given a cancer diagnosis or a scary honest diagnosis, you’re suddenly given a possibility of a time limit,” Newton-John said. “The truth is you could get hit by a truck tomorrow, you don’t know. So every day is a gift, particularly now.”
She said no one has told her specifically how much time she has left, and she doesn’t try to find out what her prognosis might be, because she believes if you know the statistics, you’re going to make them happen.
“If somebody tells you, you have six months to live, very possibly you will because you believe that,” Newton-John shared. “So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t tune in. It’s just better for me.”
Still, Newton-John said she’s “getting strong again” and is “back to full force.” She said she doesn’t talk about cancer in terms of a “battle” or “war,” but rather as something in her body she’s getting rid of.
“I don’t talk about a battle or a war, because I think that sets up that kind of feeling in your body like you’re battling something strange inside you,” she explained. “I let it go and tell it to leave and talk to my body to heal itself and don’t try to make it that. Because that takes up your whole life and your whole being.”
“I kind of have a way of dissociating and compartmentalizing it,” she added. “Otherwise, you become a victim, which I don’t want to be and am not. Or you become a slave to it, and talk about it all the time, which I try not to do either.”
Newton-John is open about her use of cannabis to treat her pain, as well as meditation and other natural wellness therapies in addition to Western medicine. Her Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre opened in Melbourne, Australia, in 2012.
You can watch the entire interview here:
Check out these Mighty stories for more insight into the challenges of dealing with a cancer diagnosis:
- 10 Silver Linings to My Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis
- Dealing With the Emotional Toll of Cancer
- Life So Far With Metastatic Cancer