Jane Fonda Has Been Diagnosed With Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma And Began Chemo

Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie
(Image credit: Netflix)

Actress Jane Fonda has been active in film and television for more than sixty years now, and delivered laughs for the better part of a decade with Grace and Frankie on Netflix before the comedy wrapped earlier in 2022. Sadly, Fonda has now revealed a diagnosis for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and has already started chemo. 

Fonda used social media to share with fans and followers that she has been diagnosed with cancer and has already begun treatment. In her Instagram post, she stated that her type is "a very treatable cancer" that "80% of people survive," so she feels "very lucky." She has also been an activist for decades, famously so during the Vietnam War, and she used her announcement to spread awareness about important topics as well as her personal news. She wrote:

I’m also lucky because I have health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatments. I realize, and it’s painful, that I am privileged in this. 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. We also need to be talking much more not just about cures but about causes so we can eliminate them. For example, people need to know that fossil fuels cause cancer. So do pesticides, many of which are fossil fuel-based, like mine. I’m doing chemo for 6 months and am handling the treatments quite well and, believe me, I will not let any of this interfere with my climate activism.

She went on to say that cancer "is a teacher and I'm paying attention to the lessons it holds for me," and she has already learned "the importance of community." Since she is nearly 85, she also noted that the cancer "definitely teaches the importance of adapting to new realities." 

By mentioning fossil fuels causing cancer, she turns an announcement of sad news about her health into an informative message that also makes it clear that she doesn't intend to give up on her activism. She went on to write:

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 and I will not allow cancer to keep me from doing all I can, using every tool in my toolbox and that very much includes continuing to build this Fire Drill Fridays community and finding new ways to use our collective strength to make change.

"Fire Drill Fridays" refers to her push for demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness and increase focus on issues involving the climate. Fans of her work on the large and small screens may not be entirely aware of her activism, especially considering the laughs that she delivered on Netflix's Grace and Frankie opposite Lily Tomlin for seven seasons and nearly 100 episodes.

Jane Fonda had a celebrated career well before Grace and Frankie, although the Netflix comedy was by far her longest-running TV role. She was given a tribute on HBO back in 2018 with the documentary called Jane Fonda in Five Acts, in which she opened up about plastic surgery as just one topic that others might not have been willing to speak about. (She previously faced an uncomfortable question from Megyn Kelly regarding her history with plastic surgery, with enough fallout that Kelly felt compelled to respond.)

Between her activism, performances in film and television, and incredibly popular workout videos, Jane Fonda has already built a strong legacy for herself that is still growing, and it's no surprise that her Instagram post gained a lot of attention very quickly. Take a look at her full message:

Our best wishes here at CinemaBlend go out to Jane Fonda in light of her diagnosis with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She's clearly not letting it slow her down while she seeks treatment and continues working on the projects that are close to her heart. Meanwhile, if you want to revisit the role that earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy back in 2017, you can find the full run of Grace and Frankie streaming with a Netflix subscription now.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).