Thriving with Stage 4 Cancer
- Legendary singer Olivia Newton-John’s incredible career was recently honored at the Australian Women in Music Awards in Brisbane, Australia.
- Newton-John, 73, has been inspiring millions around the world with her stage 4 breast cancer fight, after announcing in May of 2018 that her cancer had recurred after 5 years in remission from her second battle. Her first diagnosis was in 1992.
- There have been mixed opinions recently from medical experts on what age women should begin screening for breast cancer. Some say 40 or 45, but lately it has been argued that 35 should be the new guideline, and women with a higher risk of the disease should potentially begin screening earlier.
The Grease star, 73, was unable to attend in person, but accepted the award via video from her Santa Barbara, Calif. home, saying she was “thrilled and grateful” for the acknowledgement, as some of her favorite singers—Helen Reddy and Judith Durham—have been recipients.Read More
“There are so many talented women who have never thought about going into a certain area of the music industry, not just to sing, as well as producers, engineers, technicians, and there’s a whole world waiting for them,” she encouraged. “Once one person does it, others will follow—lead by example, thank you so much.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, accepted the physical award on her behalf at the annual event, which honors “the most innovative, hard-working and influential women in Australian music.” Fellow Aussie performer Tina Arena, 54, sang Newton-John’s “Honestly I Love You.’
Newton-John has been inspiring millions around the world with her stage 4 breast cancer fight, after announcing in May of 2018 that her cancer had recurred after 5 years in remission from her second battle. Her first diagnosis was in 1992.
Despite her unfortunate health predicament, she has admirably been pushing forward with her career endeavors, and frequently reflecting back on her accomplishments.
In her latest Instagram post, she announced that the 40th anniversary purple vinyl edition of her 1982 hit “Physical” is available for pre-order.
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The pop culture icon also just announced that she reached 255.9 million streams on Pandora. “Thank you so much to everyone who listens to my music,” she wrote. ” I hope it brings you joy!”
Olivia candidly admitted in March that she understandably is not always feeling up, despite her overall cheery, positive demeanor. “I have my days, I have my pains,” she told TODAY. She credits the cannabis grown by her husband with helping her to heal and feel better. “I’m a really lucky person,” says Olivia.
There’s currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer. When someone is diagnosed with this type of advanced care, which has spread to other areas of the body, doctors primarily focus on maintenance—preventing further spread of the cancer.
Olivia Newton-John’s Breast Cancer Journey
ONJ was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. To treat her cancer, she had chemotherapy and a partial mastectomy (surgical removal of cancerous breast tissue). In 2017, Newton-John’s cancer returned and it had spread to other parts of her body, so she had radiation therapy to treat it.
A mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast during surgery. There are different factors to weigh when considering a mastectomy; chief among them is whether breast-conserving surgery (or, a lumpectomy) is possible.
In an earlier interview, Dr. Ann Partridge, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains the process for determining whether or not a woman should have a mastectomy to treat her breast cancer.
She says, “So when I talk to a woman who comes to me and she has breast cancer, I evaluate what the standard options for treatment for her are, which typically include cutting out the cancer—which is either a lumpectomy if you can get it all with just a little scooping around of the area that’s abnormal or a mastectomy for some women meaning taking the full breast because sometimes these lesions can be very extensive in the breast.”
“And I’ll talk to a woman about that and I’ll say these are two main options or the big fork in the road,” says Dr. Partridge.
Screening for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is typically detected via mammogram, which looks for lumps in the breast tissue and signs of cancer. Women with an average risk of breast cancer, who have no family history of the disease and no incidence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, should get annual mammograms.
There have been mixed opinions recently from medical experts on what age women should begin screening for breast cancer. Some say 40 or 45, but lately it has been argued that 35 should be the new guideline, and women with a higher risk of the disease should potentially begin screening earlier. It’s best to discuss your family medical history with your doctor and decide together when is the right time. Performing routine self-checks and getting a breast exam at your annual physical are important starting in your 20s. Women of all ages can get the disease, so it’s best to stay vigilant with your health.