Sandra Lee Hopes Her Story Will Inspire Women to Get Mammograms

The Emmy-winning chef, author and editor was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 48.
4:50 | 05/12/15

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Transcript for Sandra Lee Hopes Her Story Will Inspire Women to Get Mammograms
Sandra lee is an emmy-winning internationally known expert on all things kitchen and home. Usually she joins us to cook up something delicious. She recently sat down with me for a much different reason. To talk for the first time about a personal challenge in her life. And to deliver a very important message. It was March 27th. And I was shooting "People's" most beautiful. It's okay. And I walked off the set. And 20 minutes later, my doctor called and told me I had breast cancer. It's a diagnosis that took her totally by surprise. She's best known for her television shows, cook box, magazine, and more. Not to mention a high-profile romance with the governor of new York. The ground under her shifted six weeks ago when she was finishing that shoot. I just was still. I didn't even cry. I was stunned. That's just how fast life turns. It turns on a dime. She told me her doctors caught it early. The cancer has not spread. She's had a lumpectomy sand now is preparing for a second surgery. What is the course of treatment? When the lump ekt my was done they did not have clean margins. I went back to the raid yolg. She said you're going to have to have six to eight weeks of radiati radiation, every day. You know what that is. We suggest that you have a mastectomy. And soy said, okay, if I'm going to have a mastectomy and I supposed to just get one done? The radiologist and the doctor said, you're a ticking time bomb. They both said, I would just get them both done. We know that you are -- been by your side for a long time has been the governor, Andrew Cuomo. How has he handled it? What kind of strength has he given you? Well, he was after I called my sister, he was the next call. I think he was as stunned as I was. He's been extremely supportive. He'll be in the operating room with me. But you know this. There's two ways cancer beats you up. Beats. Your body and it beats you up emotionally. And it -- I wasn't going to let it rob me from one day of happiness. Sow how are you going to, moving forward, maintain the life that you want to live, knowing that you have this in front of you? My first focus is just to get the surgery done. And recover. And then, after that, I really am all over my siblings and my nieces to make sure they get tested. I don't care if my niece is only 23. Reporter: Breast cancer screening is a controversial topic these day. Some groups recommend screenings start at 40. Some recommend starting at 50. Were you having regular checkups? Ment it was a Normal mammogram. I'm 48 years old. I have a couple of years to 50. They recommend that women don't even have their first mammograms until they're 50. If I would have waited, I probably wouldn't be sitting here. If you would have waited. I was 46 when I was diagnosed, right. They say there's an incredible amount of women in their 20s and 30s being diagnosed. They're telling these girls to wait until they're 50. I don't know who could do that in good conscience. What is your message? Girms have to know. Girls in their 20s and 30s, they have to know. I don't want women to wait. If it saves one person, makes one more person getting a mammogram. If they're at home watching this, don't watch this TV. Pick up the the phone and call your doctor and get your rear end in there and get mammogram right now. Because you hear about it. It's also someone else. It's a friend you send flowers to and your wish well and you watch every day like I watched you. And you were my hero. But I never thought I would be dealing with this. None of us every think. You know that. I was 40 when I was diagnosed. It's so important what she's saying. We know her very well. She's extremely busy. She said she's going to live her life the way she always has. And she's looking forward to her niece graduating from college. There's no way she's going to miss that. Also, it's okay hen you're diagnosed. Take a little time for yourself. You want to get back in life. But, just really -- Take care of you. A big surgery she's about to go under. Yes. It takes weeks and weeks to recover. We're all sending her major luv. Coming up, jussie and yazz

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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