Jane Fonda has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has started chemotherapy, the 84-year-old actor announced Friday. She shared the news in an Instagram post, explaining that despite the diagnosis, she is hopeful.
“This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky,” she wrote.
She said she has been coping well with chemotherapy so far and plans to continue her responsibilities.
“I’ve been on chemo for six months and can handle the treatments pretty well, and trust me, I’m not going to let this get in the way of my climate activism,” Fonda said.
She also used the announcement as an opportunity to advocate for more equal and accessible health care in the US
“I realize, and it is painful, that I am privileged in this,” Fonda said. “Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer and far too many don’t have access to the quality health care I receive and this is not good.”
This Isn’t Fonda’s First Attack With Cancer — She Was Previously Diagnosed Withbut said she was cancer free in 2010.
Fonda, an outspoken climate activist, advocated a preventive approach to cancer, writing that the US should work to eliminate the chemicals and pollution that can cause the disease.
“We also need to talk a lot more, not just about cures, but about causes so we can eliminate them,” she said. “For example, people need to know that fossil fuels cause cancer. So do pesticides, many of which are fossil fuel based, like mine.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system, which helps fight germs and bacteria, according to the American Cancer Society. There are several subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but in general it occurs when white blood cells grow abnormally and can form tumors.
Fonda said she is grateful for those around her and her growing community during this new struggle.
“Cancer is a teacher and I pay attention to the lessons it holds for me,” she wrote. “One thing it’s already shown me is the importance of community. Of growing and deepening your community so we’re not alone.”
Fonda indicated she would not let her activism diminish her diagnosis, writing, “We are living through the most poignant time in human history.”
“The midterms are coming up, and they’re only consistent, so you can count on me to be there with you as we grow our army of climate champions,” she wrote.