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Cuomo's partner Sandra Lee diagnosed with breast cancer

Governor Andrew Cuomo is coping with the breast cancer diagnosis and impending double mastectomy surgery of his longtime partner and cooking show celebrity Sandra Lee.The governor says he was “devastated” by the news.

“One phone call can change your life,” he said Tuesday. “Sometimes you get caught up in the day to day, and all these little nuances that we think are so important at the time, and then you get a phone call that actually reminds you of what’s really important.”

Cuomo says he believes Lee will ultimately be fine and he says he believes that early detection, found in her annual mammogram, was key.

“I believe the early detection could very well have saved Sandy’s life,” Cuomo said.

There is controversy over whether annual mammograms should be reserved for women over 50. Lee, who is 48, has been getting annual cancer screenings for several years. In an interview with Good Morning America, she says she felt completely healthy before her diagnosis and would not have known if it weren’t for the test.  

Cuomo is traveling the state with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to promote an education tax credit that would benefit Catholic schools, among other schools. The governor, himself a Catholic, says he is finding the Cardinal’s presence comforting. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.