Pulse: Star Survivor

Olivia Newton-John overcame breast cancer and became a champion for women's health.

By ericg October 1, 2012

Olivia Newton-John overcame breast cancer and became a champion for women's health.

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Olivia Newton-John

In 1992, multiple Grammy winner and movie star Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 43. This spring, Newton-John spoke about her experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, at a luncheon for Moffit Cancer Center.

The diagnosis alone was a struggle. In a self-exam, Newton-John discovered a lump. Though she'd found benign lumps before, this time felt different. But after seeing her doctor, Newton-John found herself divided between seemingly good test results and her own instincts: A mammogram revealed no cancer. A needle biopsy was also negative. Only after a surgical biopsy did the diagnosis occur—on the same day her father passed away.

In addition to chemotherapy and modified radical mastectomy, Newton-John treated her cancer with a comprehensive approach to healthy living, including meditation, acupuncture and a healthy diet. She has been cancer free for 20 years.

In her newly released cookbook, Livwise: Easy Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Life, Newton-John shares dishes that emphasize healthy, flavorful and all-natural ingredients.

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Olivia Newton-John's Watermelon Gazpacho

From Livwise: Easy Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Life, by Olivia Newton-John, published by Globe Pequot Press

1 red pepper, seeded, membrane removed and quartered

1 yellow pepper, seeded, membrane removed and quartered

7 lb. seedless watermelon

1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, cut into ¼-inch pieces

3 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces

½ small red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped

5 fl. oz freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1. Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers, skin side up, on a baking sheet and cook under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until the skin blisters and blackens. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and let stand for 10 minutes or until cooled, then peel the skin and finely chop the flesh into ¼-inch pieces.

2. Finely chop some of the watermelon into ¼-inch cubes and set aside —you need about 1 cup. Combine with the pepper, cucumber, celery and onion. Cover and refrigerate until required.

3. Chop the remaining watermelon, put into a blender and blend until smooth—you may need to do this in batches. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the mint, lime juice and vinegar. Add half of the reserved watermelon and vegetable mixture and stir well to combine. Refrigerate the gazpacho and remaining watermelon and vegetable mixture for at least one hour, or until well chilled. Serve in bowls or glasses topped with the remaining watermelon and vegetable mixture.


National Breast Cancer Rankings For Florida

No. 3 in new breast cancer cases

No. 2 in breast cancer deaths


Local Breast Cancer Resources

> Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Support Group, third Wednesday of each month.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Waldemere Medical Plaza, Jacaranda Room (second floor)

(941) 917-2636

> Center for Building Hope,

> Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa

> Komen Florida Suncoast

> Cancer Support Community Suncoast

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