Olivia Newton-John is “focusing on the positive” when it comes to her past battle with breast cancer.
The singer and actress, 66, is proud to promote the new Thrive Channel, which she says is all about positivity when fighting the disease.
Newton-John is friends with the channel’s creator Namrata Singh Gujral and actually mentored her through her own cancer battle some years ago when the Bollywood actress came up with the idea for constant programming focusing on the a patient’s mental attitude. Newton-John says it’s hard to stay positive when fighting for your life. She knows from surviving the disease more than 20 years ago.
“It was something that wasn’t talked about back then,” she told ABC News. “In those days it was kind of hush, hush. It was still called the ‘big C.’ Now with all the education, it’s become something that is kind of everyday language.”
“I think it made me more grateful for everyday,” she continued about surviving the disease in 1992. “It made me more compassionate for other people going through the same thing and you realize you are much stronger than you thought you were.”
In fact, Newton-John remembers a friend’s inspiring words when she spoke out about having the disease two decades ago.
“He called and said, ‘Congrats, now you will grow,'” she said. “It stuck in my head and years later, I think he’s probably correct. Until you go through something difficult you don’t realize how much you will grow. … When you are faced with something scary, you have to reach down into your core and find out who you are.”
Another lesson she learned from the diagnosis is that “You have to trust yourself and trust your body.”
The only reason Newton-John was able to get the diagnosis early enough was she found a lump by her own hand. Then, when she went to the doctors, they didn’t find anything.
“Which is why I’m so conscious of telling girls to do their own exams, not to wait till the doctors tell you,” she said. “You need to be in touch with your own body.”
She even went for a mammogram, but that came back negative. It wasn’t until she had a biopsy that the cancer was confirmed.
“You can’t just rely on another person or a test,” she added.
The “Grease” legend isn’t the only one in her family to deal with the tragedy of cancer. She lost her sister in 2013 to brain cancer.
“I loved her, she was my sister for goodness sake, you cannot replace a sister,” she said. “It was very, very quick, thank goodness. It’s shocking, when you lose somebody that’s always been there and very weird she’s no longer around.”
She said the loss only “strengthens my goal to see an end to cancer in my lifetime.”
In an effort to educate and inspire others, Newton-John built her own Cancer & Wellness Centre in Melbourne.
“It combines leading medical treatment and research of international significance, integrated with the best of wellness care and support for cancer patients and their families,” according to their website.
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