Joan Lunden gets questions from women all over the country about breast cancer.
The former “Good Morning America” host was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer two years ago. After 15 rounds of chemo over four months, plus radiation and surgery, it’s gone. And now, she’s an advocate, sharing her story in a memoir, “Had I Known,” encouraging women to get their mammograms and speaking at breast cancer awareness events.
“I have access to being able to speak to and be heard by many, many American women, so you could step up to the plate and swing at that, or not,” Lunden said. “I have a lot of gratitude that I had the good sense at the moment to do it.”
Lunden will be speaking with another sought-after name in the field — Dr. Larry Norton, the deputy physician-in-chief for breast cancer programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering — on Oct. 5 at the 92nd Street Y. The evening marks Norton’s 24th annual update on breast cancer at the 92Y.
Lunden shares what you can expect from the talk:
“Over the last decade they’ve really come up with some terrific new kinds of treatments for all the different kinds of breast cancer. I’ll be talking to him about what are the latest treatments, and what can we look forward to in the future. The new research that’s coming down the pipe comes down at such meteoric speed. There are treatments available for my cancer today that weren’t available when I got diagnosed two years ago.”
“There are amazing new advancements in diagnostics — figuring out exactly what your tumor makeup is, and exactly which treatment, which chemotherapy will be most effective on your specific type of breast cancer. One of the things I certainly learned is, no two breast cancers are alike, as amazing as that sounds. We’re also learning how much [chemotherapy] do you really have to give the women to treat this. That’s going to be a huge difference, and we are at the precipice of understanding that.”
Living with it afterward
“We’re going to talk about the latest kinds of research that’s coming out as far as prevention, treatment, diagnostics, and then living with it afterward — that’s me now. Every women lives with the fear of its return.”
“I’ll ask about those women who have metastatic disease — it’s either been caught at such a late point it’s already spread, or that they treat it and then it comes back in other parts of the body. That’s become much more complex to try and treat that women. We’re also right at the precipice with that. We are almost there so that we can turn this into a chronic disease that can be managed, as opposed to a fatal disease.”