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Joan Lunden Opens Up About Her 'Emotional Breakdown' After Cancer Treatment

06/10/2015 04:52 pm ET

It's been one year since veteran TV host Joan Lunden heard the words that completely changed her life: "You have cancer." Since then, she's appeared in all her beautiful, bald glory on the cover of People magazine, tested negative for any remaining cancer and launched ALIVE, an online TV network where women openly discuss their own battles with the disease.

But the picture isn't completely rosy. On Wednesday, Lunden spoke with HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd and fellow breast cancer survivor Anne Marie Giannino-Otis about the often-underestimated challenges of recovery after cancer treatment.

"There are all these things that nobody tells you about. Everybody is focused on losing your hair. Okay, that happens, but your hair actually grows back. ... [But] there are a lot of other things that live on after, and certainly one of the biggest ones is the fear of recurrence," Lunden said.

When Giannino-Otis noted that many women see their treatment as a "security blanket" and often confront new fear when it's over, Lunden admitted that the most challenging part of her cancer battle has been the time since she ended treatment.

"I can tell you that I had a total emotional breakdown, and to me, the time since the treatment has been far harder," Lunden said. "There's a separation anxiety element to [ending treatment], but mainly it's just ... kind of like, 'Okay, go now, and have a nice life and hope it's all okay.' And it's really hard after that. I mean, I will tell you the most emotionally difficult time for me has been since my last day of treatment."

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