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Olivia Newton-John says she’s “grateful” for her cancer battle

"Grateful" and "cancer" are two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence…

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Olivia Newton-John

More than two decades ago, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer on the same weekend that her father passed away.

She was just 43, and her diagnosis sent shockwaves through women who had fallen in love with the gorgeous Australian as they followed her journey to Hollywood superstardom.

After undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy the star was finally given the all clear.

And while Olivia considers this time in her life to be among the most trying, the Grease star has managed to find a silver lining among all those grey clouds.

Speaking with Radio Times magazine, she said, "I am grateful for the experience because without it I would not have done many of the things I have done in my life. It's taught me compassion for those going through difficult times.”

When somebody says 'Olivia Newton-John' this is likely the image your mind will conjure up. It's iconic!
When somebody says 'Olivia Newton-John' this is likely the image your mind will conjure up. It's iconic!

The 68-year-old star also spoke candidly about her mastectomy.

"I felt complete and utter dread," she admitted. "One night, shortly after it had been confirmed that I needed a mastectomy, I couldn't sleep. I went downstairs, sat in the dark and felt the fear washing over me. I was convinced that the cancer had spread at top speed and was in every part of my body.”

She added, "For a few weeks my world was in turmoil, but then I calmed down and started to fight back mentally. Deep down, there was always a tiny nugget of hope inside me that said, 'You'll be ok. You'll make it', and that little voice kept me going."

Tragically, Olivia lost her sister Rona to an aggressive brain tumour in May 2013.
Tragically, Olivia lost her sister Rona to an aggressive brain tumour in May 2013.

Olivia has spoken previously to Woman’s Day about her very public battle with cancer. She said, “When I was diagnosed [with cancer], I really didn’t want to go through chemotherapy.”

“I thought I would be the first person who died from a treatment. I knew I would have to undergo surgery, but chemotherapy was something I was really afraid of. I started researching complementary therapy because I’ve always been health-conscious,” she explained.

The mother-of-one has since devoted much of her life and time to supporting breast cancer charities and to raising awareness for early detection. She has even set up an eponymous cancer and wellness centre in her hometown of Melbourne.

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