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Olivia Newton-John On Her Cancer's Return & Using Medicinal Marijuana

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health & Sex Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist, adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University and has written for publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling...

Medicinal cannabis helped Olivia Newton-John recover from second bout of cancer

After beating breast cancer 25 years ago, Olivia Newton-John found out in May that she faced a second round. This morning on Today, the singer and actor discussed her health and the fact that medicinal cannabis was instrumental in her recovery.

At first, she thought the discomfort she was experiencing was sciatica — especially since it was painful for her to walk. In reality, her breast cancer had returned, and this time spread to her lower back. Newton-John was on her North American tour at the time of her diagnosis and still taking the stage despite her pain.

More: Olivia Newton-John Postpones Tour as She Prepares to Deal With Breast Cancer Again

"I was still performing. I would kind of a grit my teeth and take a couple of aspirin and go on,” she told Natalie Morales. When she started radiation on her sacrum — the triangular bone in the center of the lower back — she could barely walk.

Newton-John described her treatment program, which combined traditional medical care with natural remedies like meditation and medicinal marijuana, which she said played an integral part in her recovery.

“People have this vision from the '60s of people just sitting around, you know, getting stoned. It's not about that. This plant is a healing plant,” she said. "Because I think we need to change the vision of what it is. Because it helped me greatly. And it helps with pain and inflammation."

More: Having Breast Cancer at 32 Put Me in Control of My Body

In addition to speaking out about her treatment and recovery, Newton-John is also working to ensure that others are able to get the same level of care by raising money to keep the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, up and running and funding research for clinical trials.

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