On Tuesday’s episode of Good Morning America, Food Network star Sandra Lee revealed to host Robin Roberts that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Lee received the news in March during a photo shoot for People magazine’s Most Beautiful issue, she shared with Roberts, who is herself a survivor of breast cancer.
“I walked off the set, and 20 minutes later my doctor called and told me I had breast cancer,” Lee told Roberts. “I didn't even cry. I was stunned… You know, and that's just how fast life turns. It turns on a dime.” The cancer was detected during the course of a routine mammogram.
Although she quickly scheduled a lumpectomy, both her radiologist and her doctor told Lee that she was “a ticking time bomb” and urged her to undergo surgery for a bilateral mastectomy — the removal of both breasts.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lee’s longtime partner, will be in the operating room during the surgery, which is scheduled to take place later this week.
The governor also announced that he would take time off to support her. “A situation like this quickly puts life in the proper perspective and reminds one of what's truly important,” Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement. “To that end, I expect to take some personal time because I want to be with Sandy to support her in any way I can as she handles the trauma of her operation and the pain of the recovery.”
Lee, who is 48 and has no family history of breast cancer, said that she wanted to share her diagnosis with the public in the hopes of encouraging younger women to get screened regularly. On her personal Facebook page, Lee reiterated the need for her followers to take quick action.
“Girls in 20s and their 30s just have to know,” said Lee. “And I don't want women to wait. And 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.”