Florida first lady Casey DeSantis is ‘cancer-free,’ governor announces

She had been undergoing treatments for breast cancer.
(Times 2019)
(Times 2019) [ MONICA HERNDON, MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 3, 2022|Updated Mar. 3, 2022

Florida first lady Casey DeSantis is officially “cancer-free,” according to a video announcement the governor posted Thursday.

“After going through both treatment and surgery for breast cancer, she is now considered cancer-free,” Gov. Ron DeSantis says in the recorded message. “All of you who have had thoughts and prayers that have been given to my family and my wife, I just want you to know, thank you for doing that. It’s lifted her spirits, it’s made a tremendous difference.”

The video was posted to Rumble, a right-leaning alternative to YouTube.

“I’m confident she’s going to make a full recovery,” the governor said.

According to an email sent out by the governor’s reelection campaign, Casey DeSantis received the news Wednesday.

The governor’s office announced in October that Casey DeSantis, 41, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s considered the governor’s most trusted adviser and has taken an extremely active role in steering the administration, both through policy and political decisions.

She’s also no stranger to being in the hospital during inflection points in DeSantis’ career, after having the couple’s second child during his 2018 campaign for governor and their third in March 2020, during the earliest stages of the coronavirus pandemic’s entry into Florida.

As she’s undergone cancer treatment, though, she’s stepped back somewhat from the public eye.

She did make an appearance at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center in December to announce her husband was requesting $100 million for cancer research and care in his proposed budget, a $37 million increase over current funding. As part of budget negotiations, lawmakers recently granted that request and named the fund after the first lady. The entire budget has not been finalized.

“There are no words to express how truly blessed, grateful and humbled I am to hear the words ‘cancer-free,’” she said in a statement. “To those who are in the fight, know there is hope. Have faith and stay strong.”

According to a post from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “cancer-free” means someone not only has no detectable cancer in their body, but doctors also believe there is no residual cancer that could come back. Because of the risk of recurrence, many doctors will often not say a person is fully “cured” until they have been in complete remission for five years or more, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Around the same time that the governor posted the video, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez delivered a written message announcing the news to the floor of the state Senate, where lawmakers were deliberating. It was read aloud by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and the chamber erupted in applause.

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Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau reporter Kirby Wilson contributed to this report.