Joan Lunden recalls breast cancer battle: 'It definitely changes you'

It’s been three years since Joan Lunden was diagnosed with breast cancer – but these days the former host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” is feeling better than ever.

“I’m doing fabulous because I am done with all of my treatment,” the 67-year-old told Closer Weekly Wednesday. “The silver lining of that very tough battle is that I got sent on a new mission.”

Lunden is relying on her father for inspiration to raise awareness on the importance of getting regular check-ups. Before Dr. Erie Blunden died in a plane crash when she was 13, the cancer surgeon believed his daughter would also pursue medicine.

“[Having cancer] definitely changes you,” she explained. “[But] I can be an advocate and carry on [my dad’s] legacy.”

Lunden also credited her family, husband Jeff Konigsberg and her seven children, for offering much-needed encouragement during her cancer battle.

“[I’m] so appreciative of everyone who stood by me,” she said. “Quite honestly, you become appreciative of everything. Like every sunrise, every sunset – even when the dog rolls over!”

Lunden currently uses her website to educate other women about early detection.

“I have considered it one of those odd gifts from above that you get an opportunity to help other people go through dire diagnoses.” Lunden told Prevention Magazine in 2016. “Maybe by telling my story, I make women more vigilant. I know that I was a person who paid lip service to self-exams – but come on, let’s be honest, I didn’t do them. And I didn’t think I needed to because I didn’t have a family history. So breast cancer was someone else’s worry.”

She added, “Now that it’s happened to me, I guess I feel compelled to go out there and warn other women and make them more aware and make them more vigilant. And understand it’s not just about family history. It’s about the lifestyle choices that we make: whether or not we exercise, what we’re consuming, our stress levels, our lack of sleep. And all of the other risk factors that can make us susceptible not only to breast cancer, but all the other cancers.”