Marlene Dietrich may have experienced ‘unusual bleeding’ due to cancer

How to find out if you have Cervical Cancer

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In a harrowing biography of her life, penned by her daughter Maria Riva, the Academy Award actress was portrayed as mean-spirited and troubled. Riva, in the book Marlene Dietrich: A Life, noted that her mother, while thinking of herself as an “aristocrat”, described others in a demeaning way. Charlie Chaplin was one of the “low-class circus performers”, Princess Margaret was a “little gnome”, and Joan Crawford was a “vulgar woman with the pop eyes who beats her children”.

Dietrich survived cervical cancer in 1965, at the age of 64, but what are the early warning signs of the disease?

The NHS says cervical cancer can lead to “unusual” vaginal bleeding, whether this be bleeding during or after sex, between periods, or after the menopause.

While it’s not known what Dietrich’s symptoms were, the disease can lead to certain ailments.

There might be “changes to your vaginal discharge”, or “pain during sex”, or “pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy”.

Other health conditions, such as fibroids or endometriosis, can lead to similar symptoms.

“But it’s important to be checked by a GP if your symptoms change, get worse, or do not feel normal for you,” the NHS adds.

What is cervical cancer?

“Cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix,” the NHS explains.

The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the womb (uterus), which is part of the reproductive system.

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When found early, cervical cancer is often treatable, with treatment depending on:

  • The size and type of cervical cancer you have
  • Where the cancer is
  • If it has spread
  • Your general health.

Treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy, or targeted medicines.

Dietrich didn’t do much film work after her cancer treatment, only starring in Just A Gigolo (1978).

The only child of Dietrich remarked that her mother descended into alcoholism and drug addiction in her later years.


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned: “Drinking too much can harm your health.”

Am I drinking too much?

Binge drinking is considered to be four or more drinks (for women) during a single occasion, according to the CDC.

For men, binge drinking is considered to be five or more drinks on a single occasion.

“Heavy drinking” is said to be eight or more drinks per week for women; for men, this is 15 or more drinks.

Long-term health risks include: high blood pressure, cancer, weakened immune system, and mental health issues.

What did Dietrich die from?

According to numerous reports, Dietrich died from kidney failure at her flat in Paris at the age of 90.

The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins from the body, such as alcohol.

Alcohol support can be found on Drinkline on 0300 123 1110; other resources listed by the NHS are here.

Marlene Dietrich stars in Destry Rides Again, which airs on Film4 on Friday, September 30 at 12pm.

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