Encinitas councilwoman says she has lung cancer

Encinitas City Councilwoman Jody Hubbard
(Courtesy of City of Encinitas)

Jody Hubbard says she’s ‘responding well to treatment,’ will continue to serve


Encinitas City Councilwoman Jody Hubbard announced last week that she has been diagnosed with “advanced, non-smokers” lung cancer, but is being treated and will continue to serve as an elected city leader.

“I’m responding well to treatment,” Hubbard, 63, said at the close of the Aug. 19 City Council meeting, stressing that a diagnosis of lung cancer is not the sudden “death sentence” that it was just a few years ago because there have been amazing advances in treatment.

An avid body surfer and cyclist known for her outgoing personality and forthright manner, Hubbard is in her first term as a councilwoman. The retired public accountant was elected in 2018 when the city started shifting to district-based representation. She represents District 3, an area that covers much of Cardiff, as well as part of the city’s mid-section along Encinitas Boulevard.

Reached by telephone after the announcement, Hubbard said she was very shaken when she first received the diagnosis of non-smoker, non-small cell adenocarcinoma after an emergency room visit for severe abdominal pain in late May. Her doctor told her that her cancer was in an advanced stage and had spread from the lung into the lymph nodes and the bone.

Her sister died six months after being diagnosed with lung cancer when she was 43, she said. She doesn’t know what type of lung cancer her sister had. The records are long since gone, but she’s been told that her cancer isn’t thought to run in families.

In the weeks since her diagnosis, Hubbard has undergone chemotherapy and been prescribed one of the new, specialty drugs that target cancer cells based on their genetic mutations.

“It’s a different world now,” she said, mentioning that the pace of change in cancer treatments of late is so striking that she feels she’s learning about new options every time she goes into the doctor’s office.

She decided to make her announcement about her diagnosis Aug. 19 in part because her treatments appear to be working and she feels much better now than she did weeks ago, she said.

“My energy levels today are way better than they were,” she said, adding that she’s now back to riding her bike again and walking her dog. “It’s not perfect, but I’ve come a long way.”

She’s been told that her recent chemotherapy and drug treatments appear to have shrunk the cancer cells by 50 percent, she added.

Hubbard said she also made her public announcement Aug. 19 because she wanted to warn viewers that she may have to step off camera at times during Zoom council meetings in the coming weeks.

“I felt that it was time to put it out there in the public and let people know,” she said.

She plans to continue serving as a council member as long as her health permits and reports, “so far, so good.”

A Southern California native, Hubbard comes from a civic-minded family. Her father was the first president of a group that helped create what is now the 67-mile Backbone Trail through the Santa Monica Mountains and her mother, who now lives in Encinitas, has been active in the Encinitas Trails Coalition.

— Barbara Henry is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune