The former nursing assistant confirmed her diagnosis to Entertainment Tonight
, and told them "I'm a fighter and always have been."
Rowe has been out of the limelight for years.
She and Jackson first met when she was working in his dermatologist's office. She was already pregnant when the pair married in 1996.
Rowe said in a 2003 interview
that the issue of she and Jackson becoming parents came up after he was distraught over the breakup of his 1994 marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.
Jackson desperately wanted to have children, Rowe said.
"That is when I looked at him and said. 'Let me do this. I want to do this. You have been so good to me. You are such a great friend. Please let me do this. You need to be a dad, and I want you to be,'" Rowe said.
She gave birth to son Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., who came to be known as "Prince" in 1997, and daughter Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born the following year.
Jackson had a third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, with an unidentified mother in 2002.
Jackson and Rowe divorced in 1999.