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Florida’s first lady has a ‘road ahead’ in breast cancer fight, governor says

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 12:16 PM EDT
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Florida’s first lady has a “road ahead” in her fight against breast cancer, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday, praising his wife’s strength and resilience during this difficult time.

Casey DeSantis, 41, announced on Oct. 4 she's been diagnosed with breast cancer, something Gov. DeSantis said has "not been easy" on their family.

"She is a very, very strong woman," DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Pete Beach. "And it's not an easy thing when this happens because your life is going, then all of a sudden, this is something that puts that in the balance."

SPECIAL SECTION: Breast Cancer Awareness

The couple has been married since Sept. 2010 and has three children: Madison, 4, Mason, 3, and 18-month-old Mamie.

Before their marriage, the first lady was a former television news reporter and anchor in Jacksonville. She also worked for the PGA Tour as a producer and on-air host.

"I got faith in the big guy upstairs, and I've got faith in her. And I know that this is a bad break, but she's got an awful lot to live for for the rest of her life," DeSantis said Tuesday.

The governor — whose mother is a breast cancer survivor — spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about his wife's breast cancer diagnosis, but wouldn't elaborate on any treatments she's receiving.

DeSantis, however, did emphasize the critical importance of routine cancer screenings for both women and men, calling them "life-saving."

"It wasn't like she was in a lot of pain. These screenings and the things that you go can really, really be life-saving," DeSantis said. "Make sure that you go in and do that when the physicians tell you to."

WATCH GOVERNOR'S COMMENTS:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks first lady's breast cancer diagnosis

RELATED: Susan G. Komen founder shares concerns about decrease in breast cancer screenings since pandemic

Since her husband took office in 2019, Casey DeSantis has focused her attention on important state initiatives like improving mental health resources, helping single parents, uniting communities, and encouraging kindness and empathy through mentoring and volunteerism.

The governor on Tuesday said the first lady may not be able to be involved in some of those platforms in the immediate future, but she may pass some of the responsibilities to DeSantis to continue the efforts.

"She fights. She's tough," DeSantis said. "That just shows you the type of person she is. She's basically resigned that better she has to go through it than others who may not be able to handle it as well. That's why I love her. She's an exceptional person."

A native of Troy, Ohio, Casey DeSantis graduated from the College of Charleston where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, according to the non-profit organization BreastCancer.org.

It's estimated that about one in eight U.S. women — about 13% — will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of the disease.

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