Ms. DeSantis on her diagnosis: ‘Something was telling me that something wasn’t right’

First lady opens up while announcing push for cancer research boost

By: - December 8, 2021 2:08 pm

First Lady Casey DeSantis announced a $100 million initiative for cancer research and care in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s 2022-23 budget proposal on Dec. 7, 2021. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel

Since the announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis in early October, First Lady Casey DeSantis has been reserved about sharing details of her personal medical condition.

But Tuesday, she told the story of how she learned of her diagnosis, shedding light on her experience and urging Floridians to get cancer screenings for early diagnosis.

“I went to my OBGYN because I thought something was wrong. I didn’t feel anything with breast cancer — I didn’t physically feel anything. But, internally, something was telling me that something wasn’t right,” DeSantis said.

“My OBGYN at the time, she just told me, ‘Well, I don’t feel anything, I think you’re pretty much good to go.’ But that kept nagging at me. There was something internal that said, ‘I just can’t accept inaction.’ So I called back, I called back and, after a month, I finally got in and got the mammogram screening, and that’s when they found it,” she said.

“And my doctor said, ‘That could have saved your life,’ and, hopefully, it did save my life,” she said.

Florida’s first lady shared her experience during a Tuesday round-table discussion in which she announced that Gov. Ron DeSantis would seek a funding increase for cancer care and research.

His budget proposal calls for $100 million, an increase of $37 million from this fiscal year, for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center in Gainesville.

Tuesday’s discussion took place at Moffitt, and Casey DeSantis was joined by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.

“This type of funding is really exactly what we need to do to keep making progress for reducing the burden of disease associated with cancer,” Ladapo said.

Gov. DeSantis was not in attendance, although he “wanted to be there” according to his wife.

He needs the approval of the Florida Legislature to get this funding initiative through. The Florida House and Senate will determine the 2022-23 budget during the legislative session that begins next month.

The money would boost a budget item called the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers Program, established by the Legislature in 2014, according to a Wednesday press release.

The initiative has provided treatment to some 67,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients and helped train 32,000 clinicians and scientists in the latest cancer diagnosis and treatment advancements, according to the press release.

Casey DeSantis said that the new money would help the centers “find a cure for this damn thing,”

She stressed the importance of receiving early cancer screenings, saying that, before her diagnosis, “I was one of those people who thought it could never happen to me.”

“Oh, it can happen to you. It can happen to anybody,” she said. “And you can save yourself so much pain and anguish if you go in early and you get those screenings, and you just get a good baseline for where you are.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.