Remembering Lauren Terrazzano A look back at the life of Lauren Terrazzano, a Newsday reporter who chronicled her three-year struggle with lung cancer. Terrazzano, who wrote the weekly column, Life, With Cancer, died Tuesday at age 39.

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Lauren Terrazzano, a reporter with the New York newspaper Newsday, is dead at the age of 39 from lung cancer. A month ago in April, Terrazzano appeared on this program as one of several guests who joined television producer Leroy Sievers to talk about life as a cancer patient. Terrazzano wrote a regular column in Newsday called "Life with Cancer." She said she started it because she felt traditional journalism covered medical developments and what she called sob stories but didn't do enough to describe living with the disease.

Ms. LAUREN TERRAZZANO (Reporter, Newsday): I think that there's a real void in traditional journalism in how we write about cancer, you know. And the media tends to compartmentalize it into either a sob story or a scientific breakthrough.

And there are so many other issues that go unexplored, you know, the high costs, the human emotion associated with being a cancer patient. I mean, yes, there's angst and misery, but there's also humor at times. And I try to tackle the taboo subjects that a lot of people don't want to discuss.

CONAN: Terrazzano said facing mortality was difficult but that cancer patients have a unique perspective when it comes to death, because death is like a bus they see coming.

Early in April, she announced in her column that she had two to three months left but said she was determined to live her life as normally as possible. Terrazzano said writing about her life and her illness was therapeutic and that she took great pleasure when she saw fellow cancer patients read her column.

Ms. TERRAZZANO: That has been very weird and interesting to see at the same time I'm sitting, you know, in a chair and across from me is someone reading my column as they're waiting to go in for their treatment, you know. And I've gotten emails from people saying that, you know, people have been reading my column before they go into chemotherapy, and it makes me feel good to know that I've had that kind of impact, because I was that person just a few months before sitting very scared and alone in a waiting room, wishing that I had that type of, you know, column to read.

CONAN: Lauren Terrazzano died on Tuesday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. She was 39 years old and is survived by her husband Al Baker of the New York Times and her parents, Frank and Virginia Terrazzano.

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CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

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