American comedian and actress Lily Tomlin has praised her Grace and Frankie co-star Jane Fonda for her “indomitable” attitude following her recent cancer diagnosis.
Fonda, 84, known for her activism, shared her “very treatable” non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis on social media on Friday, September 2.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Tomlin, 83, said her dear friend was in good spirits.
“She’s very forthright and talkative about what’s going on with her in all respects,” Tomlin said.
“First thing, she says, ‘Don’t worry, it’s really treatable. It’s one of the most treatable forms that you could possibly have, so I’m really lucky in that regard.’
“And she’s like, ‘So are you gonna come to my next fundraiser?’ That’s her main objective.”
Ever the advocate, Fonda turned her diagnosis announcement into a statement on the need for equal access to health care in the US.
“So, my dear friends, I have something personal I want to share. I’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and have started chemo treatments,” she wrote on Instagram.
“This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky.
“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.”
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Fonda recently shared a health update on her blog saying she was “feeling stronger than ever” since having her first chemotherapy session and thanking all her fans that have rallied behind her.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your loving thoughts!,” Fonda wrote.
“I want to say again that this is a very treatable cancer and much progress has been made with the medicines patients are given.
“Since last week, so many people have written to me or posted that they have had this type of cancer and have been cancer-free for many decades. Well, I’ll soon be 85 so I won’t have to worry about ‘many decades.’ One will do just fine.
“This is not my first encounter with cancer. I’ve had breast cancers and had a mastectomy and come through very well and I will do so again.”