Venerable pop star Olivia Newton-John says she’s maintaining a positive outlook about beating the recurrence of her breast cancer, diagnosed earlier this year.
“I feel really good, thank you, I really do,” she told “Today” co-anchor Natalie Morales at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, in an interview broadcast Thursday. “I’m doing well.”
The four-time Grammy Award-winner, who turns 69 on Tuesday, successfully underwent treatment for breast cancer in 1992. She learned this May it had returned. “I guess it was a little surprising,” she said, saying she at first believed it was sciatica, only learning later that breast cancer had metastasized to her lower back. “I never would have associated it, because in my mind, it was over. I’d finished with it.”
Conceding that, “Of course, you have fear. That’s only natural,” she assured that, “My positive outlook is a decision. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have dark moments and negative moments. I’m human. But on a general scale, I tend to see the glass as half full.”
Indeed, “It’s not as frightening” the second time, she added. “I’ve had a wonderful life and so I’m not as freaked out as I was when I had a young child. So that part of it, which is probably the most frightening in the first place . . . is, ‘I need to be around to raise her.’ Well, I did it! And she’s OK.” Her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, with first husband Matt Lattanzi, is 31.
The recurrence, Newton-John said, “taught me I’m stronger than I thought I was. Because even though you have a team around you and people helping you . . . in the end, it’s up to you.”
She added that, “Without that experience. I wouldn’t have grown and had the desire or the passion to help other people who are going through it, and the compassion to understand what it’s like when you’re going through cancer. So it’s been an amazing journey. And having it happen again, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve done it before. I got through this before and I can do it again.’ ”
The singer’s older sister, Rona Newton-John, died in May 2013 at age 70, a month after being diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.