She recently celebrated her five-year anniversary of being cancer-free, and former Good Morning America anchor Joan Lunden feels grateful for many reasons.

“I remember someone said, ‘You’re going to go in for breast cancer treatment one person, and you’re going to come out another,’ and they were absolutely right,” Joan exclusively tells Closer at the recent Breast Cancer Research Foundation Symposium and Awards Luncheon in NYC. “You have a better understanding of the true love and compassion and support that come from friends and family.”

Joan Lunden

Joan, 69, has also noticed she’s become kinder to strangers as a result of her experience. “I find myself driving along the road to my office and looking around, and there can be a slow driver in front of me, and instead of being irritated with him, I’m saying, ‘Man, are these trees beautiful!’ ” she shares. “I don’t know if I would have been in that [headspace] five years ago.”

This isn’t the first time that famous journalist has opened up about her battle with the disease — she once revealed that having breast cancer wasn’t necessarily the worst thing.

“Ironically, my breast cancer diagnosis, which should have been the worst year of my life, was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she told First for Women. “I think anyone who goes through cancer and survives it will tell you they come out a different person on the other end — that they are more appreciative of every day of their life, of everything in their life. I have so many things I’m doing and learning about and so many things I want to do to make my time on this earth really matter. All that makes me excited about life each day.”


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In fact, Joan is looking better than ever. “People always says to me, ‘Wow, you don’t seem to age!’ and they want to give me lotions or laser treatments,” the Had I Known author told the outlet. “But I’m not the lotion or potion type of girl — I’m the attitude girl. To me, nothing is going to make your face prettier or look younger than happiness.”

For more on Joan Lunden and your favorite stars, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!