Food Network alum Sandra Lee is cancer-free four months after getting a double mastectomy to treat breast cancer. Lee celebrated being cancer-free by wearing a dress with a plunging neckline to the 2015 Emmy Awards.
“I was early-stage and the beautiful thing is about early stage cancer is it gives you every option in the world, and that is what I took,” Lee told ABC News Sept. 22. “My doctors have said I am cancer free and I’m ready to go.”
Sandra was proud to wear her cleavage-baring pink Thierry Mugler dress at the Emmys even though it was a little big around her chest area. “I couldn’t wear it because I was a little bit too big on top,” said Lee. “Then I turned my mess into my message and I got to wear that plunging dress.”
Lee continued: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a DD [bra cup size], which I was, or an A, which I am now. Women are not just about their boobs, which is a statement I was making when I wore that dress.”
Sandra will wait until February 2016 to decide if she’ll get reconstructive breast plastic surgery. For now, she’s just thrilled to be cancer-free. “I feel so young and liberated,” she gushes.
Lee, 49, was diagnosed breast cancer with in May and immediately underwent a lumpectomy before moving forward with a double mastectomy. Lee, who has dated New York Governor Andrew Cuomo since 2005, decided to get a double mastectomy even though her breast cancer could have been treated with radiation.
“I never want to go through this again,” said Sandra. Lee is now an advocate for early cancer detection and treatment as an ambassador for Stand Up To Cancer.
Abused By Drug Addict Stepfather As a Child
Lee exudes a cool confidence that belies her abusive childhood. Lee was abandoned by her teenage mother as a baby and was mentally and physically abused by her drug-addicted stepfather, Celebrity Health & Fitness reported.
By the age of 12, Sandra was the primary caretaker for her four younger siblings. Ironically, Lee’s impoverished childhood motivated her to make overly ornate tablescapes (for which she has been lampooned) and “prettify” the set of her Food Network show, “Semi-Homemade.”
Lee says her mother became pregnant at age 15, married at 16, and left her in her grandmother’s care for four years as a baby. Lee’s childhood took another traumatic turn when her mother returned with a new husband, who banned Sandra from seeing her grandmother and then beat and emotionally abused her for years.
By age 11, Lee’s mother divorced again, leaving her and her four younger siblings in the care of her abusive, drug-addicted stepfather. While rumors have swirled that Sandra was also sexually abused as a child, she has never confirmed the speculation.
Raising her siblings on food stamps honed Lee’s now-famous skills as a practical cook who can make quick, inexpensive meals on a budget. “I figured out that you can make a casserole with a can of soup, thickened with flour and water and topped with a Bisquick crust,” said Lee, who has written more than a dozen best-selling cookbooks.