Olivia Newton-John is battling breast cancer for the second time. The Australian singer recently announced she is postponing her U.S. and Canadian tour, after receiving a scary diagnosis that her cancer has returned and spread to another part of her body.
In a statement shared on her Facebook page, the 68-year-old revealed that the back pain that forced her to postpone the first part of her concert tour earlier this month was actually breast cancer that “has metastasized to the sacrum.”
The singer previously battled breast cancer in 1992, undergoing chemotherapy and a modified radical mastectomy before doctors told her she was cancer-free. She has since become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and even has a cancer center named after her in Australia.
Despite the recurrence, she is confident about winning this latest battle. “In addition to natural wellness therapies, Olivia will complete a short course of photon radiation therapy and is confident she will be back later in the year, better than ever, to celebrate her shows,” a spokesperson states. “I decided on my direction of therapies after consultation with my doctors and natural therapists and the medical team at my Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia,” Olivia added.
According to a 2013 study, very late relapse (after 12 years) is quite uncommon in breast cancer survivors like Newton-John, but it is possible — which is why lifetime follow-ups are so important. Metastatic breast cancer, cancer that has spread, is also known as stage IV cancer, considered to be the most advanced stage. The American Cancer Society maintains that the five-year survival rate of stage IV cancer is 22 percent.
Having said that, the American Cancer Society clarifies that many people live far longer than the five year survival rate, which is based on the percentage of people who live at least five years after their diagnosis.
"For example, a 5-year survival rate of 90% means that an estimated 90 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed," states the ACS.
So where there is life, there is hope.
One thing is for sure: ONJ’s fans are rallying for her recovery.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you a breast cancer survivor? How would you handle Olivia Newton-John’s diagnosis if you were her? Do you have any advice for women who suffer from breast cancer relapse?