Actress Jane Fonda in 1985 Photo: AFP
US actress Jane Fonda announced on Friday that she has cancer and has started chemotherapy to fight the disease.
The 84-year-old Oscar winner, a prominent Democratic Party supporter, vowed to fight the “highly treatable” disease.
“I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and started chemotherapy,” she wrote on her verified Instagram account.
“This is a very treatable cancer. 80 percent of people survive, so I’m very lucky.
“I’m also lucky because I have health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatment.”
Fonda, a self-confessed environmentalist and social activist, said her position is happier than that of many others in her situation.
“Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer at some point, and far too many don’t have access to the quality health care that I receive, and that’s not right,” she wrote.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, part of the body’s immune system, and can develop into a widespread tumor.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include: swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain or swelling, chest pain, coughing or difficulty breathing, and persistent fatigue and fever.
“In most cases, doctors don’t know what causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” the clinic says on its website.
“It starts when your body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.”
Normally these cells die and the body makes new ones to replace them – but in non-Hodgkin lymphoma they don’t, even if the body makes more.
“This excess supply of lymphocytes crowds into your lymph nodes and causes them to swell,” the clinic’s website says.
Fonda vowed her treatment would not hamper her environmental campaign and urged action on fossil fuel use, which she linked to cancer.
“I’m on chemotherapy for six months and I’m doing reasonably well with the treatments and believe me I won’t let this interfere with my climate activism.
“We are living through the most momentous time in human history, because what we do or don’t do now will determine what kind of future there will be.
“I will not let cancer stop me from doing everything I can and using every tool in my toolbox.”
“You can count on me to be with you as we grow our army of climate champions,” she wrote.
Fonda first appeared on screens in 1960 and received Academy Awards for Best Actress for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978).
She has five other Oscar nominations in her career, including four for Best Actress.
In addition to her anti-war activism during the US-Vietnam War, dubbing her “Hanoi Jane” and blacklisting her in Hollywood, she was also a major figure in the home fitness video craze of the 1980s.
Fonda continues to work, appearing as the voice of an elegant dragon who is the CEO of a fortune company in the Apple TV+ animated film Luck.
She also stars in the popular long-running Netflix hit comedy Grace and Frankie.
Fonda comes from a family of famous stars; Her father Henry was a legend of the big screen, appearing as a holdout judge in 12 Angry Men and winning Best Actor for On Golden Pond (1981).
Her brother Peter was a seminal figure of the 1960s counterculture whose twist in Easy Rider is a touchstone of Hollywood history.