JOAN LUNDEN’S COURAGEOUS FIGHT

The journalist, author and former Good Morning America co-host shares intimate details of her battle and victory over breast cancer.

Aired on October 31, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

ACCORDING TO TWO STUDIES PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNALS 'NATURE' AND 'NATURE GENETICS,' RESEARCHERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD DISCOVERED 72 PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN GENE MUTATIONS THAT LEAD TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF BREAST CANCER.

THEIR FOUNDINGS MAY HELP IDENTIFY A SMALL PORTION OF WOMAN WHO ARE AS A THREE TIMES INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING THE DEADLY DISEASE.

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

AND 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 AND HAS SINCE TAKEN THE FOREFRONT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER.

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

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM, JOAN.

IT'S MY PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU.

IT'S AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU HERE.

SO, OF COURSE, 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 FIRST HEARD THOSE TWO WORDS?

YOU KNOW IRK HAD DONE SO MANY INTERVIEWS OVER THE YEARS OF BREAST CANCER EXPERTS.

I KNEW THAT STATISTIC, ONE IN EIGHT WOMEN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER 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 OF THE DIFFERENT CANCER EXPERTS THAT I INTERVIEWED IN A PERSONAL WAY LIKE THAT IT WAS REALLY GOING TO AFFECT ME.

SO I WAS PRETTY SHOCKED WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS.

AND BY THE WAY, I HAD A CLEAN 3D MAMMOGRAM THAT DAY.

WOW.

AND THEN I WALKED ACROSS THE HALL AND HAD AN YOULTRASOUND AN HEARD THOSE WORDS, YOU HAVE CANCER.

FROM THE OUTSET I FELT THIS 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 IT JUST BY FEELING YOUR BREASTS.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU FIND OUT IN A MAMMOGRAM.

SO I HAVE JUST KIND OF BEEN OUT ON THE SPEAKING TRAILS EVER SINCE I WAS DIAGNOSED TRYING TO H 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, THEY CAN EDUCATE THEMSELVES, THEY CAN 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.

OF COURSE.

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

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE 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 ARE 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.

YOU NEED TO 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 IT 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.

AND 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.

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 SOME VERY PROMINENT YOUNG WOMEN COME OUT AND TALK ABOUT GETTING TESTED FOR THE BREAST CANCER GENE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE BEING VERY OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT THEIR JOURNEYS THROUGH TREATMENT.

DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH THAT'S 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 EVEN TELL A WOMAN SHE HAD BREAST CANCER, WOULDN'T WANT HER TO LIVE WITH THE ANXIETY, THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO ABOUT IT ANYWAY, AND OFTENTIMES WOMEN WOULD LIVE WITH THIS SHAME BECAUSE IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS WRONG WITH YOUR BREASTS.

YOU KNOW, IT AFFECTS YOUR FEMININITY AND YOUR SENSIBILITY OF YOURSELF.

THANK GOODNESS THAT TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

AND TODAY IT IS OKAY TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THERE IS AN INCREDIBLE SENSE OF COMMUNITY AMONG BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS.

I NEVER USED TO REALLY TOTALLY GET IT.

I'D SEE THESE EVENTS WITH EVERYBODY WEARING PINK, BUT NOW I DO.

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

SO I'M A PART OF THAT NOW.

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

THANKS.

I'M GOING TO PUT MY HAND OUT AND I'M GOING TO 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.

SECOND -- YOU KNOW, WHERE DO YOU GO?

WHO DO YOU GET YOUR OPINIONS FROM, ET CETERA.

SO HAVING A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN GO AND TALK ABOUT THAT SOUNDS SO CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT JUST FOR THE PATIENTS OWN MENTAL HEALTH.

AND I THINK I KIND HAVE -- I HAVE BEEN IN PEOPLE'S LIVING ROOMS FOR THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES.

YOU ARE A FAMILIAR FRIENDLY FACE.

AND I THINK THAT PLAYS A PART IN THIS THOUGH, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY CONSUME INFORMATION FROM ME A IN A LITTLE BIT OF A DIFFERENT WAY, WOMAN TO WOMAN, FRIEND TO FRIEND.

I WAS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM.

WE ARE KIND OF 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.

BUT 'AT HOME WITH JOAN' CAMPAIGN, IT PULLS IN STORYTELLING.

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

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

SO WE KIND OF REPRESENT EVERYBODY.

ALL RIGHT.

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

WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND I HOPE EVERYBODY GIANTS ME WITH 'AT HOME WITH JOAN' DOT-COM AND BECOMES A PART OF OUR COMMUNITY.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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