The 68 year old singer and actress recently postponed her tour due to back pain. Unfortunately, Oliva Newton-John discovered the cause: her breast cancer returned and metastasized to her sacrum, a part of the low back.
In 1992, Newton-John first battled breast cancer by undergoing chemotherapy and by having a modified radical mastectomy (removing the breast and lymph nodes). She immediately had breast reconstruction and included yoga, acupuncture and massage in her treatment regimen.
In an interview with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, she shared her personal story. “I meditated every day, did yoga, used homeopathy, ate well—I boosted my inner strength as much as I could. When bad thoughts came in, I pushed them right out. I had what’s called a modified radical mastectomy with reconstruction done to my breast immediately—a woman can be traumatized waking up with nothing there.
She remained cancer free for years.
Olivia Newton-John in 1978’s Grease
In a statement released on social media, Newton-John said the cancer returned, spread to her sacrum and she was going to undergo a short course of photon radiation therapy, which uses high energy particles to destroy cancer cells. She stated she would also incorporate “natural wellness therapies”.
Breast cancer is one of the few cancers that spreads to the bone. Other cancers that may rear its ugly head in the bone include thyroid, kidney, pancreas and the liver.
According to the American Cancer Society Stage 4 Breast Cancer (spreading to other parts of the body) has a 5 year survival rate of 22%, as opposed to Stage 3, who’s 5 year survival rate is 72%. Treatments today are improving survival rates.
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician