In an industry obsessed with youth, Jane Fonda has enjoyed the rare privilege of growing older on screen. Her continued career, which saw renewed vibrance when she was cast in the popular Netflix series Grace and Frankie, has also given her a unique platform to share some of the challenges older women face in Hollywood. Now 84, Fonda has endured a series of health woes—including a recently announced cancer diagnosis—and is sharing her insights on the experience. Read on to learn what she wants you to know, and to find out why she says she feels stronger than she has in years.
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On Sept. 2, Fonda shared via Instagram that she has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer which begins in the white blood cells in the lymphatic system. “This is a very treatable cancer. Eighty percent of people survive, so I feel very lucky,” the Barbarella star wrote in her announcement. “I’m doing chemo for 6 months and am handling the treatments quite well,” she added.
“I’m also lucky because I have health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatments. I realize, and it’s painful, that I am privileged in this,” she added.
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Fonda’s lymphoma diagnosis may have come as a shock to fans, but the star is no stranger to cancer. She’s undergone cancer treatments several times in the past, including a mastectomy for breast cancer and the removal of several cancerous skin lesions.
The star says her history of cancer only makes her more confident that she’ll once again make a full recovery. She shared in a blog update that having “come through very well” in the past, she believes she “will do so again.”
In her recent blog update, Fonda shared that friends and fans have reached out with words of support and encouragement since she announced her illness. “Since last week, so many people have written to me or posted that they have had this type of cancer and have been cancer-free for many decades. Well, I’ll soon be 85 so I won’t have to worry about ‘many decades.’ One will do just fine,” she quipped.
For the time being, Fonda says, she’s feeling her best despite the diagnosis. ”I must tell you that I feel stronger than I have in years,” she wrote, alongside a video of herself doing squats. “The doctor told me the best antidote to the tiredness that chemotherapy can cause is to move,” she explained.
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Fonda is a passionate environmental advocate, and says her most recent diagnosis has further fueled her drive in the fight against climate change. “This diagnosis has only made me more determined than ever to continue to end the deadly effects of fossil fuels,” she wrote. “While most of us know that fossil fuels are the primary cause of the climate crisis, many may not know that fossil fuel emissions also cause cancer as well as other major health problems like birth defects, childhood leukemia, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and preterm birth. We must find a way to come together to put an end to this deadly correlation.”
“We have it within our power to change this and I intend to do everything in my power to do so. This cancer will not deter me,” Fonda wrote.