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Former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden was diagnosed with breast cancer back in June and in the months since, the beloved journalist has shared frequent updates on her treatment and served as an inspiration for fans whose lives have been impacted by the disease.

Today, Lunden debuted her shaved-head look (she took matters into her own hands, rather than waiting for her hair to fall out from chemotherapy) on the cover of People magazine.

More importantly, however, she shared her candid, stirring thoughts on her battle with cancer with a bracingly honest interview.

“I could do nothing but that’s certainly not in my personality,” Lunden says. “I was handed an opportunity to learn everything I can about this to try and help others.”

Joan opened up about her conversations with former GMA colleague and fellow cancer survivor Robin Roberts, who influenced Lunden’s decision to shave her head:

“Robin told me that waiting for your hair to fall out is excruciating. So I didn’t want to wait.”

“I’m almost reluctant to say it because it sounds superficial, but when you lose your hair, it just affects the way you look at yourself in the mirror. You feel less feminine, pretty, or desirable, and that’s a hard thing to go through.”

A hard thing to go through, and an aspect of treatment that many avoid talking about for fear of sounding vain. That’s why it’s a wonderful thing when an icon like Joan Lunden speaks so frankly about such a difficult time in her life.