Jane Fonda has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun chemotherapy, she announced Friday.
In a post on Instagram, Fonda said she has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that has been linked to synthetic chemicals known as PFAS. Noting that the survival rate for people with the disease is relatively high, the 84-year-old actor and activist said she felt “very lucky,” not just for those chances, but also because she has access to “the best doctors and treatments.”
“I realize, and it’s painful, that I am privileged in this,” Fonda said. “Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer at one time or another and far too many don’t have access to the quality health care I am receiving and this is not right.”
Fonda, whose life has been shaped by activism over issues like the war in Vietnam and climate change, wasted no time in shifting to a call to action, noting that fossil fuels can cause cancer and pesticides have also been connected to diseases like hers.
“We also need to be talking much more not just about cures but about causes so we can eliminate them,” she said.
Though she will be undergoing chemotherapy for six months, that won’t stop her from championing action around climate change, Fonda said. She added that her diagnosis has emphasized to her “the importance of community” and is teaching her “the importance of adapting to new realities.”
“We’re living through the most consequential time in human history because what we do or don’t do right now will determine what kind of future there will be,” she wrote. “The midterms are looming, and they are beyond consequential so you can count on me to be right there together with you as we grow our army of climate champions.”