Singer and actress Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago – the same weekend her father died from cancer.
Since early-on in her diagnosis, Newton-John shared her ordeal with cancer and urged women to be vigilant with self-examinations and testing for the disease.
After her diagnosis, she had a partial mastectomy and chemotherapy, and later took alternative medications and medical marijuana. Despite these measures, Newton-John was diagnosed in 2020 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer – or breast cancer that had spread to other parts of her body.
Newton-John died Monday from the disease after it had gone into remission two previous times.
Newton-John said after her 1992 diagnosis that her cancer had been caught early because she’d been diligent about getting routine checkups and she urged women to know their bodies and report to their doctors any lump or mass.
Breast cancer, among all cancers, is the No. 1 cause of death for women, according to the World Health Organization.
In the United States, it is estimated that one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime, and around 2,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
Would you know what to look for if you suspect cancer? Here, from the American Cancer Society, are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass (although most breast lumps are not cancer). A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can be also soft, round, tender or even painful.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
· Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no lump is felt)
· Skin dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
· Breast or nipple pain
· Nipple retraction (turning inward)
· Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, flaking or thickened
· Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
· Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone (sometimes this can be a sign of breast cancer spread, even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt.)
Many of these symptoms can also be caused by benign (noncancerous) breast conditions. Still, it’s important to have any new breast mass, lump or other change checked by an experienced health care professional.
©2022 Cox Media Group