King Sweeney says she has breast cancer, will keep serving

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WOODBURY -

Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney says she will continue to serve in office despite her recent breast cancer diagnosis.

Doctors found something suspicious in King Sweeney's yearly mammogram and ultrasound, but she says it was caught early.

"That night I had a good cry but also went out to dinner with my husband," she recalls.

King Sweeney had a lumpectomy and will undergo three weeks of radiation.

The 45-year-old Hempstead Republican majority leader says she was considered low-risk and credits her yearly screening for catching the cancer before it spread.

"Since then, through the support of my family and my very close friends, I've gotten through it and I realized, frankly, how lucky I was," King Sweeney says.

Geri Barish, of Hewlett House, is a five-time breast cancer survivor and advocate.

"I still feel as far as we've come, we haven't come far enough," Barish says.

Both Barish and King Sweeney say more education, community awareness and breast cancer research are needed.

King Sweeney said Tuesday that she wants to focus on helping connect minority families who may not have access to health care with preventative programs. She says she'll also push for more research into possible environmental causes of breast cancer on Long Island.

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