JOAN LUNDEN’S FIGHT

Three years ago, Joan Lunden told the world she had breast cancer.  Tonight, she shares the details of her battle and her survival.

Aired on October 25, 2017. 

TRANSCRIPT

> ONE IN EIGHT WOMEN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER DURING THEIR LIFETIME.

WHILE WE KNOW SOME OF THE REASONS FOR THE DISEASE THE GENETIC CAUSES HAVE NOT BEEN VERY CLEAR UNTIL NOW.

ACCORDING TO TWO STUDIES RECENT LY PUBLISHED RESEARCHERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE DISCOVERED 72 PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN GENE MUTATIONS THAT LEAD TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF BREAST CANCER.

THEIR FINDINGS MAY HELP IDENTIFY A SMALL PORTION OF WOMEN WHO ARE AT THE THREE TIMES INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING THE DEADLY DISEASE.

THOUGH SCIENCE OFFERS HOPE IN ONE DAY COMBATTING THE ILLNESS FOR WOMEN LIVING WITH IT IT IS A DAILY FIGHT FOR LIFE.

UNLESS YOU ARE A SURVIVOR THERE ARE SIMPLY SOME THINGS ABOUT BREAST CANCER THAT YOU CAN'T KNOW OR UNDERSTAND.

FORMER GOOD MORNING AMERICA HOST JOAN LUNDEN WAS DIAGNOSED IN 2014.

SHE IS NOW CANCER FREE AND READY TO TELL HER STORY OF SURVIVAL.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

MY PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU.

AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU HERE.

WE ARE HUGE FANS AND SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE FOLLOWED YOUR STORY FROM WHEN YOU FIRST GOT YOUR DIAGNOSIS.

I WANT YOU TO TAKE ME BACK TO THAT MOMENT.

WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU HEARD THOSE TWO WORDS?

I HAVE DONE SO MANY INTERVIEWS OVER THE YEARS.

ONE IN EIGHT WOMEN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER AT ONE TIME DURING THEIR LIFETIME.

I DIDN'T HAVE IT IN MY FAMILY HISTORY.

TO BE VERY HONEST, I JUST WAS KIND OF NONCHALANT ABOUT IT.

I DON'T THINK I EVER INGESTED THE INFORMATION FROM ALL THE DIFFERENT CANCER EXPERTS THAT I INTERVIEWED IN A PERSONAL WAY THAT IT WAS REALLY GOING TO EFFECT ME.

I WAS PRETTY SHOCKED WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS.

I HAD A CLEAN 3 D MAMMOGRAM THAT DAY.

AND THEN I WALKED ACROSS THE HALL AND HAD AN ULTRASOUND AND HEARD THE WORDS YOU HAVE CANCER.

I FELT THE COMPELLING NEED TO GO OUT AND EDUCATE WOMEN AND LET THEM HEAR MY STORY SO THAT THEY KNEW THAT THEY NEED TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE VERY DENSE BREASTS.

AND YOU CAN'T TELL JUST BY FEELING YOUR BREASTS, IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU FIND OUT IN A MAMMOGRAM.

SO I'VE JUST BEEN OUT ON THE SPEAKING TRAIL FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS EVER SINCE I WAS DIAGNOSED TRYING TO HELP EMPOWER WOMEN WITH INFORMATION.

THAT'S HOW AT HOME WITH JOAN CAME ABOUT WHICH IS KIND OF A CLOSED COMMUNITY WHERE PEOPLE CAN COME IN AND EDUCATE THEMSELVES AND SOAK UP THE INFORMATION.

AND I BELIEVE THAT IF WE SHARE OUR STORIES THAT OTHER PEOPLE LEARN.

SO I INTERVIEWED A LOT OF PEOPLE.

AND THOSE INTERVIEWS LIVE ON THE WEBSITE AS WELL AS, OF COURSE, INTERVIEWS WITH ONCOLOGISTS AND ONCOLOGY NURSES.

THAT SEEMS LIKE SOMETHING REALLY CRUCIAL FOR PATIENTS TO HAVE A PLACE TO GO TO TO LEARN ALL THE QUESTIONS THEY NEED TO BE ASKING AND ALL THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF THERAPIES THAT THEY CAN GET.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO BE THEIR OWN ADVOCATE?

THE GOOD NEWS IS RESEARCH IS BEING DONE AT SUCH AN AMAZING RATE, ANSWERS ARE COMING DOWN THE PIPE, NEW TREATMENTS BEING MADE AVAILABLE.

WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT IF YOU GET THIS DIAGNOSIS OR YOU ARE KIND OF HELPING SOMEONE WHO JUST GOT THIS DIAGNOSIS, YOU NEED TO GET A COUPLE OF OPINIONS.

YOU NEED TO EDUCATE YOURSELF AND LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC DISEASE.

IN BREAST CANCER FOR WOMEN IT'S VERY COMPLEX BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST ONE DISEASE.

IT'S DIFFERENT IN EVERY WOMAN.

SO MAKES IT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO STUDY BREAST CANCER AND TO COME UP WITH ANSWERS.

BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IF YOU CATCH IT EARLY ENOUGH, BREAST CANCER, YOU HAVE A 99% CHANCE THAT YOU'LL SURVIVE IT.

THAT'S AMAZING NEWS FOR WOMEN TODAY.

I HOPE THEY HEAR THAT SO THAT MANY WOMEN DON'T WANT TO GET A MAMMOGRAM BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE ANSWER.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF IS AFRAID OF DYING WHICH TO ME KNOWLEDGE EMPOWERS US.

CERTAINLY IN THE HEALTH FIELD KNOWLEDGE REALLY EMPOWERS US.

DO YOU FEEL AT ALL AS THOUGH THE CONVERSATION AROUND BREAST CANCER SEEMS TO BE CHANGING?

WE HAVE SEEN VERY PROMINENT YOUNG WOMEN COME OUT AND TALK ABOUT GETTING TESTED FOR THE BREAST CANCER GENE, A LOT OF PEOPLE OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT JOURNEYS THROUGH TREATMENT.

DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH THAT IS HELPING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH THIS?

ABSOLUTELY.

YOU KNOW, IT USED TO BE THAT NOBODY TALKED ABOUT THIS.

IT ACTUALLY USED TO BE THAT DOCTORS SOMETIMES WOULDN'T TELL A WOMAN THAT SHE HAD BREAST CANCER, WOULDN'T WANT HER TO LIVE WITH THE ANXIETY AND NOTHING THEY CAN REALLY DO ABOUT IT ANYWAY.

OFTEN TIMES WOMEN WOULD LIVE WITH THIS SHAME BECAUSE IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS WRONG WITH YOUR BREASTS AND IT EFFECTS YOUR FEM NINITY AND YOUR SENSIBILITY OF YOURSELF.

THANK GOODNESS THAT TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

AND TODAY IT IS OKAY TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THERE IS INCREDIBLE SENSE OF COMMUNITY AMONG BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS.

I NEVER USED TO REALLY TOTALLY GET IT.

I SEE THESE EVENTS WITH EVERYBODY WEARING PINK.

NOW I DO.

NOW I UNDERSTAND THE STRENGTH AND THE COMPASSION THAT IS WAITING THERE FOR YOU IF IT'S YOUR TIME TO GO DOWN THAT PATH.

SO I'M PART OF THAT NOW.

WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF ON THE OTHER SIDE OF A LIFE THREATENING DISEASE AS A SURVIVOR I THINK IT IS KIND OF A NATURAL INSTINCT TO SAY YOU LET ME SURVIVE, THANKS.

I'M GOING TO PUT MY HAND OUT AND HELP THE NEXT PERSON THROUGH.

AND THAT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING THINGS AS I UNDERSTAND IT WITH ANY KIND OF CANCER DIAGNOSIS IS THE DAUNTING GAUNTLET OF LIKE WHAT COMES NEXT, TREATMENT, WHERE DO YOU GO?

WHO DO YOU GET OPINIONS FROM?

HAVING A PLACE TO GO SOUNDS SO CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT JUST FOR THE PATIENTS' OWN MENTAL HEALTH.

I HAVE BEEN IN PEOPLE'S LIVING ROOMS FOR THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES.

YOU ARE A FAMILIAR FRIENDLY FACE.

I THINK THAT DOES PLAY A PART IN THIS THAT THEY CONSUME INFORMATION FROM ME IN A LITTLE DIFFERENT WAY, KIND OF WOMAN TO WOMAN, FRIEND TO FRIEND.

I WAS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM.

WE ARE ALMOST FAMILY.

AND I THINK THAT IS PART OF IT.

AND SO I'M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS ENDEAVOR OF MINE TO GO OUT AND EDUCATE NOT JUST WOMEN BUT ANYONE DEALING WITH ANY CANCER DIAGNOSIS.

AT HOME WITH JOAN CAMPAIGN PULLS IN STORY TELLING.

YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHAT I HAVE MADE MY LIVING DOING IS TELLING PEOPLE'S STORIES.

SO IT IS VERY NATURAL THAT THEY HAVE ME GO OUT AND INTERVIEW PEOPLE FIGHTING CANCER AND SURVIVING CANCER FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES.

WE KIND OF REPRESENT EVERYBODY.

LISTEN, JOAN LUNDEN, ON BEHALF OF WOMEN AND EVEN MEN, I WILL SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING THAT PERSON TO COME FORWARD AND MAKE SURE OTHERS KNOW WHAT TO ASK, HOW TO ASK AND WHERE TO GO FOR THE INFORMATION.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I HOPE EVERYBODY JOINS ME ATHOMEWITHJOAN.COM AND BECOMES PART OF OUR COMMUNITY.

THANK YOU.

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