When journalist Joan Lunden found out she had breast cancer she decided to reveal her diagnosis to the public on Good Morning America, a show she co-hosted for 17 years.

Then she showed off her recently shaved head on the cover of People magazine.

And now, she’s speaking out about her very public battle with the disease and her thoughts on being deemed a passionate spokeswoman for breast cancer awareness in a new interview with TODAY.

“Sometimes, you just want to give voice to other people,” Joan told Hoda Kotb of her experience this morning in an exclusive interview.

After an “aggressive,” stage-two diagnosis in June, the mother of seven has undergone chemotherapy and a lumpectomy as part of what she referred to as “a very complicated battle.”

Joan Lunden Shaves Head Following Breast Cancer Diagnosis
joan lunden people cover

Joan appeared on People’s October 6, 2014 cover. (Credit: R/R)

Though she has no family history of the disease, had no symptoms of illness and had gotten a recent mammogram, a cancerous tumor was eventually detected in Joan’s body by an ultrasound. “I don’t know why I thought I was exempt,” she said while being interviewed at her Connecticut home.

When asked by Hoda about the moment she found out she had breast cancer, the health advocate replied, “I knew by [my doctor’s] demeanor. She just wasn’t even looking at me. And she sat down and she said, ‘You have breast cancer.’”

Joan says she has received an outpouring of positive messages and prayers from fans throughout the nation: “It totally changed my relationship with the viewing audience,” she revealed while holding back tears.

“It gives you this much, much greater appreciation for life,” she said of her battle.

To see the video of Joan’s full interview with Hoda, click here.