Olivia Newton-John took to Facebook yesterday to announce that she would have to postpone her June US and Canadian concert dates. The 68-year-old singer will be treated for a recurrence of breast cancer.
The Grease star was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, after finding a small, painful lump. She underwent a partial mastectomy and breast reconstruction, followed by chemotherapy. She also used complementary treatments, such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, meditation and visualization.
“I researched a lot and felt satisfied with my course of treatment. It was sort of an East meets West approach. I meditated every day, did yoga, and homeopathy, ate well- I boosted my inner strength as much as I could. When bad thoughts came in, I pushed them right out.”
In May, Newton-John postponed some shows, saying that she was suffering with a “long running issue with sciatica”. Turns out, this was not the cause of her back pain. The Facebook statement said:
“The back pain that initially caused her to postpone the first half of her concert tour, has turned out to be breast cancer that has metastasized to the sacrum.”
“In addition to natural wellness therapies, Olivia will complete a short course of photon radiation therapy and is confident she will be back later in the year, better than ever, to celebrate her shows.
‘I decided on my direction of therapies after consultation with my doctors and natural therapists and the medical team at my Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia,’ says Olivia Newton-John.”
There are 3 major types of breast cancer that differ in the way they are treated, so it’s important for doctors to diagnose exactly what type a patient has. The three major types of breast cancer and their treatments are:
According to the American Cancer Society, over a quarter million women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the U.S. in 2017. About 6% patients will have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis and another 20% to 30% of patients with early-stage cancer will eventually develop spread to other organs (metastasis), most often bone.
For decades, the primary treatment for women with advanced breast cancer has been hormone (endocrine) therapy with drugs that block the estrogen that allows the cancer to grow. Sadly, and usually within a year, most patients suffer recurrence or progression of their disease.
However, starting in 2015, new “breakthrough” drugs for advanced breast cancer started to become available to patients. These drugs are for “ER-positive, HER2-negative” cancers that are the most common types of breast cancer. (more information about these types of cancer can be found in Chapter 2 of our Women’s Cancers book at http://www.reimaginingcancer.com/ ).
These new drugs, called CDK4/6 inhibitors, include:
If you or someone you know has advanced breast cancer, talk to your doctor about whether these drugs should be added to the treatment you are already receiving.