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Olivia Newton-John 'grateful' for her cancer battle

Gemma Strong

Olivia Newton-John has made the surprising admission that she feels grateful for her cancer battle. The 68-year-old star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 – on the same weekend that her father passed away – and was given the all-clear after undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy.

She told the Radio Times: "I am grateful for the experience because without it I would not have done many of the things I have done in my life. It's taught me compassion for those going through difficult times."

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Olivia Newton-John has said she feels "grateful" for her cancer battle

The star also spoke openly about her mastectomy. "I felt complete and utter dread," she admitted. "One night, shortly after it had been confirmed that I needed a mastectomy, I couldn't sleep. I went downstairs, sat in the dark and felt the fear washing over me. I was convinced that the cancer had spread at top speed and was in every part of my body.

"For a few weeks my world was in turmoil, but then I calmed down and started to fight back mentally. Deep down, there was always a tiny nugget of hope inside me that said, 'You'll be ok. You'll make it', and that little voice kept me going."

Olivia, who is mother to 30-year-old daughter Chloe Lattanzi, has devoted much of her time to supporting breast cancer charities, and set up the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

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The star pictured with her 30-year-old daughter Chloe Lattanzi

She was further inspired to help raise awareness after losing her sister Rona to an aggressive brain tumour in May 2013.

At the time, she sadly told fans: "My beautiful sister Rona sadly passed on May 24th in Los Angeles. It was May 25th in Australia - which was our mother Irene's birthday. Rona died of a very aggressive brain tumour and mercifully suffered no pain.

"She was surrounded by the love of her four children - Fiona, Brett, Tottie and Emerson and, her wonderful friends. I will miss her forever - my beautiful, smart, talented, funny, brave sister Rona."

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