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Politics and Government

Cuomo: 'One phone call can change your life'

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David Shankbone
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coping with the breast cancer diagnosis and impending double mastectomy surgery of his long time partner, and cooking show celebrity Sandra Lee. In a statement, Cuomo said he expects to take some personal time off to support her through her treatment.

Later today, at a stop in Long Island, the governor said he was “devastated” by the news.

“One phone call can change your life,” he said. “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’s 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 ABC's "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’s finding the cardinal’s presence comforting.