Olivia Newton-John opens up about ‘overwhelming’ cancer diagnosis

Olivia Newton-John
(Image credit: Rodin Eckenroth)

Olivia Newton-John has opened up about the ‘overwhelming’ experience of being diagnosed with cancer.

Grease actress Olivia Newton-John spoke about her cancer diagnosis in a candid video that she shared to her Instagram page to mark the launch of her new foundation, that aims to ‘realise a world beyond cancer’ and ‘prevent, treat and cure’ the illness.

I am proud to announce the establishment of the @onjfoundation,’ she wrote alongside the video on her Instagram page. ‘With your help, we will realize a world beyond cancer. Please check out and follow my new @onjfoundation’.

In the video on the ONJ Foundation page, Olivia spoke about being first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1992, when she was later given the all-clear after undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy.

However after recovering from her breast cancer, the actress and singer, who announced her cancer diagnosis back in November 2018, was diagnosed with cancer of the shoulder in 2013.

A photo posted by on

"I knew immediately something was wrong,” she said of the time leading up to her cancer diagnosis. "I had a mammogram. The mammogram was benign and I had a needle biopsy that was also benign.

"I don't say this to scare women, but you have to just trust your instincts."

Speaking about how she immediately booked an appointment with her doctor and went on to get a surgical biopsy, Olivia explained that they later found out she had breast cancer.

"All this was overwhelming. It was a feeling of dread, terror, the unknown," she shared. "I made the decision that I would be okay. I had to believe I was going to be okay, that my daughter [Chloe Lattanzi] was the most important thing in my life and I would be okay for her.

"I have seen the incredible beauty of the plants and their healing abilities," added Olivia, who has previously tried meditation, acupuncture and plant medicine. "If I hadn't had that experience, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you about kinder therapies... your body wants to heal itself. That's why I'm excited to start this foundation."

Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.