Olivia Newton-John, 68, has remained cancer-free since her 1992 diagnosis of breast cancer, but she doesn’t attribute her health entirely to her partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction. In the video above, Newton-John explains the importance of positive thinking, spending time doing what you love, and not defining yourself by your illness.
“The one thing you don’t want to do is be talking about your illness all the time. You need to focus on the positive, on the healing,” she tells The Doctors. Asked what advice she has for other women who are diagnosed with cancer, she says, “Give [the phone] to a friend, a sister, a husband, whatever, to do all the talking when friends call and they want to know how you’re doing, so you can take time to do something for yourself that you love. Whether it’s walking, or exercising, or cooking, or praying, or meditating or listening to music ― something that makes you feel good. Your mind is such an important part of your healing. Your biggest organ in healing, I think, is what you think.”
In addition to creating the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, Newton-John says that being a cancer survivor of nearly 25 years has shaped her creatively. “It has led me to a lot of things in my life. It’s led me to creating music,” says the actress and four-time Grammy winner. “That’s how I had helped myself through difficult times: to write music. For me, it’s writing songs that has been very important in expressing my emotions. Sometimes we’re not able to express in other ways what we can through the creative process.”
Since losing her sister to brain cancer only six weeks after the diagnosis, Newton-John once again turned to music. She recently collaborated with two friends who were also grieving, Amy Sky and Beth Nelson Chapman, to create a new album called “Liv On.” “We decided we would write this album and share our grief and sorrow, but also our healing and compassion and give people hope with these songs,” says Newton-John. Watch them perform “Stone In My Pocket” in the video below.