UNIVERSITY PARK ( — Two journalism professors who teach a class together at USC made a personal announcement to their students Tuesday. They announced that they both are battling cancer.

It was a typical day on campus at USC. Inside room 231, students in Journalism 200 appeared to be half-listening and half-dreaming.

Their team-teaching professors, Judy Muller and Alison Trope, usually battle it out on topics of new media and theory. But Tuesday, they announced a different battle.

“We have oddly enough in this kind of cruel coincidence of life. We both have been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Muller announced.

The professors got their bad news in the past three months. They decided to share their battle in an essay posted on

Muller wrote: “This post was born out of a cruel coincidence. The kind of coincidence that might make you think God has a very sick sense of humor, if you happened to believe in that kind of small-minded Higher Power. I prefer to think of it the way a dear friend once described a major setback. It makes us cry, this foreign place, separately and together. And then we find ways to laugh, separately and together.”

“We’re not looking for sympathy. By writing this, we’re finding some humor, some control over our lives,” Muller said.

For these two courageous women, penning their thoughts wasn’t easy. Despite Muller spending several decades as a correspondent for ABC and CBS news, speaking these words out loud is still a little scary.

Instead of speaking to the media, they prefer to let their essay speak for them.

Trope wrote: “At 48, I’ve had about 5 mammograms in my life. They’ve all been fine. So, when I went in for a routine mammogram on February 5, I wasn’t prepared for, ‘there’s something suspicious.’ ”

And so the essay goes on to sharing their stories, fears and courage.

“I think because they are people of words, I think that they can really reach a lot of people,” said USC student Delanie Stone.

Muller is now undergoing radiation treatment. Trope’s treatment has yet to be determined. But she is expected to need chemotherapy.

Don’t think a little cancer will stop the educators from educating. They plan to keep teaching, keep fighting, and like their students, keep dreaming and inspiring others through their words.