Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John, Diagnosed at age 44 Treatment: Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radical Mastectomy, Reconstruction

Breast cancer does not discriminate—just ask mother, actress and singer Olivia Newton-John. Here, she shares her story of facing fear and winning.

Q: Did you ever think about breast cancer before your own diagnosis in 1992?

A: A dear friend of mine was diagnosed only three months before I was, and our little circle immediately said, “Oh my God! She’s got cancer!” There’s something about the word itself that’s so scary. So when I got it, I had to come to the realization—and it took awhile—that cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence. Millions of women go through it and then lead productive, healthy lives. But at the time it felt overwhelming.

Q: So, you and your friend were facing it together.

A: Yes. She’d had surgery and was already going through chemo when I was diagnosed. Then, a few years later, a third girlfriend got it—three women from my immediate group—all in their 40s. A housewife, a flight attendant and me. Unbelievable.

Q: Did you friend’s diagnosis motivate you to conduct self-exams?

A: I’ve always had regular exams, because I’ve had a few [benign] lumps before—you know, cysts—so I went periodically to my surgeon for check-ups. [...] continue the story