Olivia Newton-John Fights Breast Cancer Again, After 25 Years. Why Does The Dangerous Disease Come Back?

Olivia Newton-John’s second time fighting breast cancer

Learning you have cancer can be terrifying. Even if you've had it before, having gone through this experience doesn't make the diagnosis any less frightening, even if the prognosis is good. Having cancer means uncertainty about the future. Even if the treatment is successful, many of those who have defeated cancer may have the lingering thought: "What if the disease comes back?"

Olivia Newton-John had already fought breast cancer in 1992 and had been in remission until 2017. In May 2017, the singer learned the cancer was back. Olivia had excruciating lower back pain, but she never suspected it could be breast cancer metastasis in her sacrum, which is what an imaging test revealed.

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This time, Newton-John's treatment involves a combination of conventional cancer therapy (namely, radiation) and naturopathic herbal remedies. Although the singer admits that the whole experience is scary, she keeps her mind on the positive. She told Closer Weekly:

I talked to my body. I affirmed that I was healthy and strong. Depression suppresses your immune system. I tried to get my mind off my troubles by focusing on the things that I am passionate about.

How likely is breast cancer to recur?

Breast cancer recurrence is not all that rare. But the risk of getting breast cancer again depends on many factors, including the stage at which the disease was initially diagnosed, the treatments used the first time, the cancer's aggressiveness, genetics, and other individual factors, such as lifestyle.

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According to WebMD, if the tumor is small (less than 1 cm, or 0,39 in, in diameter) and cancer hadn't reached lymph nodes, the risk of recurrence is about 5%. But if the cancer had invaded multiple lymph nodes, the risk of recurrence may be as high as 50%.

Breast cancer and other cancers may develop again because of the remaining cancer cells that haven't been killed by previous treatment. In other cases, a patient may be completely cancer-free after treatment and develop an entirely new cancer again.

The possibility of recurrence is the reason why cancer patients are closely monitored and have regular tests to make sure the disease hasn't come back after they completed their treatment course.

Source: WebMD, Fox News, New Idea Magazine

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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