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 Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.

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