Olivia Newton-John health: Actress said stage 4 breast cancer is ‘part of my life’
Olivia Newton-John gets gifted her auctioned 'Grease' jacket
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Newton-John had her first bout of breast cancer in 1992, 14 years after playing Sandy in the film Grease. She was given chemotherapy and radiation to fight the condition off. But victory was only temporary. The condition reappeared in 2013 – this time, spreading outside of her breasts. In 2017, she learned that it was stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her spine. Despite the ordeal, she said in a recent interview she was “feeling pretty good” thanks to the support of her husband.
“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good, I have my days, I have my pains,” Newton-John recently said.
“But the cannabis my husband grows for me has been such a huge part of my healing. So I’m very lucky.”
Stage 4 breast cancer has a much lower survival rate of 63 percent than stage 1 or two cancer, which barely results in any excess deaths, states the Office of National Statistics.
Talking about her cancer recurrence in 2020, she said: “It’s been a part of my life for so long. I felt something was wrong. It’s concerning when it comes back, but I thought: ‘I’ll get through it again.’”
Newton-John’s husband John Easterling grows the cannabis which she uses as treatment as part of his business the Amazon Herb company.
According to the Grease actress, she was quite “nervous” to take it at first but over time she saw “benefits” such as helping with anxiety, sleep, and pain.
Can cannabinoids treat cancer?
Although cannabinoids, such as THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, as well as CBD, have several benefits, including relaxation, scientists are not completely confident in the cancer reducing properties of cannabis.
The charity Cancer Research UK recently stated: “Right now, there simply isn’t enough evidence to prove that cannabinoids – whether natural or synthetic – can effectively treat cancer in patients, although research is ongoing.
“And there’s certainly no evidence that ‘street’ cannabis can treat cancer.”
There is even research suggesting that in some situations, THC can encourage the growth of cancer rather than leading to their destruction.
However, another study found more terminally ill cancer patients were alive after using the medicinal cannabis product than those who didn’t take the medicine.
According to the 2021 study, 83 percent of patients who took Sativex with a chemotherapy drug called temozolomide from a trial of 27 patients were alive after one year whereas only 44 percent that took a placebo were alive.
There are hundreds more cancer studies with differing results, but overall the studies “simply haven’t found enough robust scientific evidence” to prove that cannabis can treat cancer effectively.
When Newton-John was first tested for cancer in 1992 using a mammogram and biopsy, nothing was detected. But the actress knew something was wrong.
“I knew immediately that something was wrong. I had a mammogram and the mammogram was benign and then I had a needle biopsy that was also benign,” Olivia said in a YouTube video.
“And I don’t say this to scare women, but you just have to trust your instincts.”
She went on to have a surgical biopsy which revealed cancer in her right breast, which was removed through a mastectomy.
The NHS reccommends that you should see a GP if you notice any of the following symptoms of breast cancer:
- A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that wasn’t there before.
- A change in the size of either breast
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- A rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer.
Getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and eating less food with saturated fat can help to prevent the condition.
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