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Inspired By Sandra Lee, Cuomo Steps Up Fight Against Breast Cancer

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- "One word changed our lives...Cancer."

Governor Andrew Cuomo concluded his State of the State address praising the courage of his girlfriend Sandra Lee, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

"All she was thinking about is how do I take this experience and use the energy to help others -- how do I take the negative and how do I make it a positive," Cuomo said. "And I just want her to know she was such an inspiration to me."

Lee underwent a double mastectomy surgery in May of 2015, and had to return to the hospital for a second surgery after developing an infection from the initial procedure. She was later released and announced she was cancer free in September.

MORE:Full Coverage Of Cuomo's State Of The State

Inspired by her strength and optimism, Cuomo announced a $90 million state cancer screening program, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

Cuomo said the program would extend clinic hours later and include weekends, as well as offer mobile units to get to more women. He also said he would work to help ensure insurance companies would help pay for the services.

"If they had more access to mammograms, low cost or even free, I think more women that could potentially be at risk would be diagnosed," Sabine Sprauve, of Bedford Park, said.

Linda Tantawi, chief executive officer of the Susan G. Komen Organization of Greater NYC, said Cuomo's multi-millon dollar plan will save lives.

"We know overall that reducing disparities in access to care can impact survival rates by 30 percent," Tantawi said. "So we know we can decrease mortality by 30 percent."

The governor's goal is to get 10 percent more women screened for breast cancer in the next five years. His plan also includes a prostate screening awareness program.

"One in five women will suffer from breast cancer," Cuomo said. "We're gonna get that number down in New York."

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