Joan Lunden’s Breast Cancer: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

joan lunden, breast cancer, good morning america

(Stephen Lovekin/Getty)

Former Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden returned to the program to announce she is battling breast cancer on June 24. The veteran broadcaster spoke with current GMA co-host Robin Roberts about her recent diagnosis.

Here’s what you need to know about Lunden and her ongoing battle:

1. Lunden Described Her Cancer as ‘Aggressive’

Lunden, who co-hosted GMA from 1980 to 1997, returned to the program to tell breast cancer survivor Roberts and the rest of the GMA family that she had “heard those four words that every woman fears and never wants to hear: You have breast cancer.”

Watch the video above to see Lunden’s announcement.

Due to the “dense, fibrous tissue” in her breasts, the cancer didn’t appear on her mammogram, but showed up during an ultrasound. Her cancer is the “more aggressive kind” so her treatment will include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

2. Lunden Told Her Twins About the Cancer This Past Weekend

Lunden debated whether to keep her diagnosis a secret or to go public with the news like she had with much her life in the past. She wrote in her blog about her decision to make the public announcement on GMA:

I have decided to talk about my breast cancer because since the moment I took the job at Good Morning America I have lived my life sharing my joys and my disappointments with all of you: my pregnancies, my relationships, my career… I have shared my journey. So it certainly didn’t feel right keeping this part of my journey a secret.

Before speaking with Roberts and the rest of America, she sat down with her two sets of twins to break the news. Because doctors caught the cancer early, Lunden said she was able to tell Max and Kate, age 11, and Jack and Kimberly, age 9, that “mommy’s going to be okay.”

She also called her husband, Jeff Konigsberg, “a rock” during this difficult time, and her three older daughters (from her first marriage with Michael A. Krauss) have attended all of her appointments. Her daughters are Jamie, born in 1980, Lindsay, born in 1983, and Sarah, born in 1987.

joan lunden, lindsay krauss, daughter, breast cancer

3. She Knew No Woman Was Exempt From Breast Cancer

joan lunden, health advocate, growing up healthy, breast cancer

Lunden, a health advocate, described the news of her cancer as “a shock” and “a stunner.” According to her blog, she considered herself a “fit and healthy” person without any prior family history of breast cancer.

The longtime reporter knew from her coverage of the cancer over the years that “none of us are exempt.” She wrote in her blog about the action she took shortly after learning the news:

I also knew that I had to jump into action quickly, put together a team, and find the best course of treatment for the kind of cancer that I have.

4. Her Father Was a Cancer Surgeon

Lunden lost her father, Erie Murray Blunden, at age 14. The cancer surgeon was returning home from speaking at a cancer conference when his plane crashed. She wrote in her blog that she “admired my father’s passion to save lives and work toward a cure for cancer.”

Her own dreams of becoming a doctor ended when she “couldn’t hack the scalpels and the stitches,” she told Roberts, but she could use her public image to share the information she learns and inspire others to take care of their health.

Lunden is also a caregiver for her mother Gladyce Lorraine. She is the official spokesperson for A Place for Mom, a national senior care referral service.

5. She Runs a Summer Weekend Getaway for Women

As part of her healthy lifestyle, Lunden runs a summer weekend getaway for women of all ages in Naples, Maine called Camp Reveille. She encourages the campers to share their stories and that inspired her to come forward and share hers.




Her risk may have been increased due to hormonal therapy she must have had to undergo for her infertility treatment to conceive children in her 40’s.
It would be helpful to women who are considering their risks for breast cancer in future years after infertility treatment and possible changes to their screening approach because of this possible risk.
I personally would like to know more about a possible connection between infertility treatment and breast cancer and discuss my screening approach with my doctor.
Thank you Joan for being forthcoming about your breast cancer and details about your screening approach due to dense breast tissue that will help many women to consider the best screening approach and discuss ultra sound back up as a routine screening pratice with their doctors.
Also I think the real risk of prolonged infertility treatment as well as infertility treatment in our 40’s or even 50’s needs to be studied. I wonder if infertility treatment later in life could in itself be connected with the development of breast cancer?
I know that the infertility treatment risk is often not considered to be substantial enough by women who face infertility at any age, and women choose to undergo prolonged hormone treatment regardless of this risk when they can’t concieve naturally with their doctors not advising enough about this known risk. More research is definitely needed here as infertility treatments advance and women can have children later in life how does this connect with breast cancer rates and types?


She has triple negative breast cancer, That means the cancer is not fueled by hormones.


I feel so terrible and sad to hear the news of Joan Lunden breast cancer. I would also like to know if she was drinking alcohol on the regular basis, i have heard that consuming one or more drinks a day for a woman increases the chances of developing breast cance.

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