The Oscar-winning actress, 84, revealed the news on Instagram, explaining that it is a “very treatable cancer” for which she feels “very lucky”.
Fonda, a lifelong activist, used the announcement to raise the issue of how many Americans “don’t have access to quality health care” due to insurance troubles as well as discussing the effects fossil fuels can have on people’s health.
Fonda shared an image of herself on Instagram and wrote: “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.
“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 realise, 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.”
She continued: “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.
“Cancer is a teacher and I’m paying attention to the lessons it holds for me. One thing it’s shown me already is the importance of community. Of growing and deepening one’s community so that we are not alone. And the cancer, along with my age –almost 85– definitely teaches 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 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.
Jane Fonda (Isabel Infantes/PA) /caption]
“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.”
Among those offering their support to the actress following her announcement was her son and actor Troy Garity who commented a red heart emoji.
Her friend and comedian Chelsea Handler added: “Love you, Jane. Thinking of you, always.”
Over a glittering Hollywood career Fonda has won two Academy Awards, two Baftas and seven Golden Globes.
Her films include 1971’s Klute, 2005’s Monster Law alongside Jennifer Lopez, 1978’s Coming Home and she recently starred with Lily Tomlin in the hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie.
She is also known as much for her activism as her film career, and earlier this year she launched a special campaign group, named the Jane Fonda Political Action Committee, which is aimed at defeating politicians who support the ongoing use of fossil fuels.