Finding Purpose Amid Health Challenges
- Joan Lunden, 72, has shared a throwback photo marking the 43rd anniversary of her joining “Good Morning America” as its main co-host. The fond and nostalgic memory serves as a career milestone for the veteran journalist.
- Lunden was diagnosed with stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer in 2014. This type of breast cancer is more aggressive because it is unresponsive to certain targeted therapies, including hormone therapy or HER2-targeted agents like Herceptin, Chemotherapy is typically the primary treatment.
- Lunden had dense breasts, which meant doctors didn’t see her cancer during her annual mammogram. Our experts suggest patients with dense breasts get ultrasound screenings in addition to mammograms for more accurate breast cancer screenings.
- Cancer patients are encouraged to commemorate milestone moments in their lives which may include the birth of a child, a marriage, or career highlight for example. These moments tend to gain greater meaning during or after battling cancer.
Beloved TV journalist Joan Lunden, 72, acknowledged a milestone in her iconic career. The veteran journalist and breast cancer survivor took to Instagram to point out that 43 years ago she became the official cohost of “Good Morning America” just weeks before having her first child. She went on to raise seven children. For cancer patients and survivors marking milestone moments in life such as a career highlight becomes more meaningful with each passing year.
View this post on InstagramRead More“On this day in 1980, I became the official cohost of ‘Good Morning America’ along with David Harman. I’d just given birth to my first child 8 weeks earlier, my daughter Jamie who was sleeping in my dressing room there at the studio,” Lunden wrote in an Instagram caption.
“Little did I realize that I’d be there for two decades, the most incredible career ride anyone could ask for,” Lunden continued.
The warm post sparked joyful and nostalgic memories from the 1980s among Lunden’s supporters online.
“The good days of morning TV when my children were young!! Thanks for the memories!!” Instagram user Barb wrote.
“You are fabulous…then and now! I started the journey with you back then, just from the other side of the camera. Enjoyed every moment and every cohost you had!” another user wrote.
Lunden co-hosted ABC’s “Good Morning America” for 17 years in the 1980s and 1970s. She was later a correspondent on NBC’s “TODAY” show, and it was during her time with “TODAY” that she learned of the cancer in her right breast. As remarkable as Lunden’s television career has been over the decades, equally as inspiring is her bravery surrounding her public breast cancer journey.
For cancer warriors and their families, reaching life’s milestones is a big deal. Milestones can be the birth of a child, getting married, traveling on a dream vacation, reaching another birthday, or a momentous career achievement. Most importantly, these milestones during or after a cancer battle tend to have a greater meaning because often cancer patients gain a greater sense of gratitude towards their life.
WATCH: One cancer survivor’s incredible story detailing the value of milestones.
Lunden was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2014. This type of cancer is not being fueled by any of the three main types of receptors: estrogen, progesterone, or the HER2 protein.
Since triple-negative breast cancer is constantly unresponsive to certain targeted therapies, including hormone therapy or HER2-targeted agents like Herceptin, chemotherapy is typically the treatment and there are several options.
“Any triple-negative cancer that’s over half a centimeter or has lymph node involvement needs chemotherapy,” Dr. Julie Nangia, medical oncologist at Baylor College of Medicine said.
Lunden’s cancer went nearly undetected because she has dense breasts which means the breast has less fatty breast tissue making it more difficult for mammograms alone to see the cancer. For women with dense breasts, they are encouraged to get an ultrasound alongside a mammogram to better see any signs of cancer.
Lunden’s husband Jeff Konigsberg shared that during her chemotherapy treatments, she helped others undergoing chemo alongside her.
“As Joan would go for a chemo session, she would go up to everybody else in the room who was receiving chemo, she wanted to know how they were doing and if they had that support. She just always cared about others,” he continued.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Lunden shared that she knew little about breast cancer before she was diagnosed with it.
“Candidly,” says Lunden, “I never thought I would be one of the women who would get breast cancer.” Despite having to cope with her diagnosis, she managed to do it in stride. She’s since become a breast cancer advocate offering hope and advice to other women battling the disease.
More on Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
- Advances in Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments Over the Last Year Offer New Hope for Those Fighting
- An Overview of Breast Cancer Treatment
- ‘It’s A Game Changer’: FDA Approves Keytruda, Chemo Combo To Treat Aggressive Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
- How to Treat Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Keytruda Shows Promising Boost in Survival
- Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatments To Consider
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
This cancer has historically been one of the most aggressive and hardest-to-treat forms of the disease, because it doesn’t respond to treatments that target the main receptors, such as hormone therapy or HER2-targeted agents like Herceptin.
“Triple-negative breast cancers are most responsive to chemotherapy at the outset,” Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told SurvivorNet.
WATCH: What is triple-negative breast cancer?
Now, in addition to chemotherapy, immunotherapy has been approved to treat triple-negative breast cancer. In studies, this new therapy has been shown to extend the lives of women with this type of cancer.
What To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have questions about how to keep your strength through treatment. Here are a few questions to help you begin the conversation with your doctor:
- What treatment will I be receiving?
- What side effects are associated with this treatment?
- Are there steps I can take in my daily life to help minimize these side effects?
- What physical activity routine do you recommend for me during treatment?
- Do you have recommendations for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy exercise?
- Can you recommend a dietician who can help me with healthy eating tips and maintaining a healthy weight?
- I’ve been having trouble sleeping, do you have any treatment recommendations?