Joan Lunden Talks Cancer, Hair Loss In ‘People’ Cover

Joan Lunden, the former Good Morning America anchor, is battling breast cancer and appears on the latest issue of People magazine after having undergone several chemotherapy treatments. The 64-year-old Lunden shows that with or without hair, she’s beautiful inside and out.

She told the magazine that she wanted to appear as she is, no wigs or camera tricks, in order to show others that the fight is on and no one should be ashamed.

“I had to make this big decision about whether or not to do the cover with no hair,” Joan Lunden told ABC News.

“It certainly isn’t the comfortable way to go, but I decided I was going to try and help others and show women that this isn’t the end of the world. You can go on – and that was hugely empowering.”

Joan Lunden also told ABC that she didn’t want to wait for her hair to fall out in drabs, as it normally does with chemo patients, so she shaved it off instead. She did this a week after her first treatment, but wore a wig to hide the fact. Until now.

Joan also appeared (via telephone) on the TODAY show, talking with the popular morning show’s desk of characters. Lunden will become a special correspondent during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October on TODAY. She spoke with them about her coming out bald and what that kind of decision means for women.

“I knew I could be a voice for a quarter of a million women who are diagnosed every year with breast cancer, and I wanted to show that your health is more important than your hair.”

Joan Lunden also talked about the affect that her cancer has on her children. As a mother of seven, Joan said that the impact her treatment and some of the publicity might have on them was something she did not take lightly. In the end, however, Lunden’s children have been supportive, she said.

She told TODAY that her 11-year-old son Max told her to “definitely do it without hair.” Max told his mother that doing so would “make a difference and save lives.” Joan Lunden had no choice but to agree with the boy.

The decision does have down sides, of course. Joan Lunden says that losing your hair “affects the way that you look at yourself in the mirror.” She also told ABC that it makes you feel “less feminine, pretty or desirable.” She conceded that it’s not an easy thing to go through, but with support, she’s willing to tough it out.

The next issue of People featuring Joan Lunden without her hair will contain a title story “I Will Beat This” on newsstands Friday.