Six weeks ago, doctors told Sandra that they found cancer in her right breast after a routine mammogram. Says Lee, “I didn’t even cry, I was stunned… you know, and that’s just how fast life turns. It turns on a dime.”
Sandra told Roberts that doctors discovered the cancer early, and it has not spread. She has had a lumpectomy, and has chosen to undergo a double mastectomy because the doctors said she was a “ticking time bomb,” and recommended this course of treatment.
“If I would have waited, I probably wouldn’t even be sitting here,” she told Roberts, who was also diagnosed with cancer before age 50.
Her first focus is to undergo the second surgery and recover, her second priority is to urge women to get screened. "Most doctors don’t recommend women get their first mammograms until they are 50," the 48-year-old Sandra stated.
Sandra’s message for women: “Girls in 20s and their 30s just have to know, and I don't want women to wait, that's why I'm talking … if it saves one person, and makes one more person go get a mammogram, and if they're sitting down right now watching this, don't watch this TV. Go pick your phone up, and call your doctor and get your rear end in there and get a mammogram right now.”
Lee’s partner of 10 years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has been by her side. "He was as stunned as I was,” revealed Sandra. “He has been extremely supportive, and will be in the operating room with me.”
The celebrity chef and author was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS is called "non-invasive" because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any normal surrounding breast tissue. DCIS isn’t life-threatening, but having DCIS can increase the risk of later developing an invasive breast cancer.
“There are two ways cancer can beat you up,” Sandra added. “It beats up your body, and it beats you up emotionally, and I wasn’t going to let it rob me of one day of happiness.”