Olivia Newton-John on how she's fought cancer for 27 years: 'positive attitude' and 'a lot of cannabis'

Olivia Newton-John wears many hats. “I’m a mother, a wife, a singer, an actress, a cancer philanthropist, author,” she says. And whether you know her from Grease, Xanadu, Glee or RuPaul’s Drag Race, you know this about her: The longtime celeb is a ray of sunshine. And she credits that, in part, to how she’s dealt with three bouts of cancer — including the one that she’s currently in the midst of — over the past 27 years.

“The only thing I could advise is to keep a positive attitude, which is what I’ve tried to do my whole life,” says Newton-John, despite noting that her just-published memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’, does not offer advice, and that it’s not a “kiss-n-tell.” Instead, she notes, “I just tell my story.”

A big part of her story has been dealing with breast cancer. “The first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was 1992,” she recalls. “I found a lump in my breast, [but] my mammogram was negative. I had a feeling… and we found out the cancer was hiding. So I always tell women even if they tell you they don’t see anything, trust how you feel. Trust your instincts.”

Though see was frightened by her diagnosis, Newton-John says, “I had to make a decision that no matter what, I was going to be OK. My main decision was, I’m going to get better, and I have a young child to raise.” She had a modified radical mastectomy followed by chemotherapy treatment. “Then I did everything that I could to get healthy,” she says.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Newton-John spoke out about having cancer for the first time only after being “outed, so to speak,” by a media outlet that had planned to write a story about how she was “dying.”

“In 1992, people didn’t really talk about cancer…” she says. But after the newspaper learned of her situation, we decided that I would make it public. I’m a pretty private person. So to be publicly talking about my breasts and what was going on with them was a very strange thing for me.” But in looking back now, she says, “I realize it was the right thing to do. It helped other people. It also helped me, because I think it was important not to be holding stuff in.”

She’s remained outspoken, and even has a hospital named after her In Melbourne, Australia — the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, which has not only treatments and places “to go for solace,” but wellness programs in music and arts and meditation, and group therapies.

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo, Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G'Day USA Los Angeles Gala at the InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles. Newton-John’s autobiography, released last fall in Australia, will out in the U.S. in 2019. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced Tuesday, Dec. 18, that “Don’t Stop Believin’” would be published March 12. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G'Day USA Los Angeles Gala at the InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles in 2018. (Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

She wound up in her own facility in September of 2018, when she found out that her cancer had metastasized. “Metastasize happens, so it wasn’t a total shock to me,” she says. “But the wonderful thing was that this happened when I was in Australia… I ended up in my hospital for three weeks… I got to experience the programs that I’d worked so hard to convince them are important. And they were.”

Finally, Newton-John notes, she is a cannabis advocate when it comes to health and wellness. “I use a lot of cannabis in my healing. It helped me incredibly with pain and sleep,” she says. “Opiates are killing people and cannabis doesn’t.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.