updated 08/24/2005 AT 1:25 PM ET
•originally published 08/24/2005 AT 8:00 AM ET
Victoria Gotti, daughter of the late Gambino family Mafia don John Gotti, is backpedaling on statements that she suffered from breast cancer – but she denies she lied about her condition.
“What I have is considered by most to be cancer. Noninvasive cancer,” she said on ABC’s Good Morning America, according to the Associated Press.
Gotti, a magazine columnist and star of the reality TV show Growing Up Gotti, previously claimed that she had undergone a mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, a story that was reported over the weekend in New York’s Daily News.
Gotti said that she kept the diagnosis to herself, hiding her ailment from her sons, who also appear on Growing Up Gotti, as well as the show’s producers. “I lost 25 lbs.,” she said. “I was so exhausted, I could barely lift my arms.”
The New York Post, however, reported that her condition was greatly exaggerated, going so far as to call it a “scam.”
Her longtime publicist Matthew Rich, whose best friend’s mother died of breast cancer, quit unexpectedly on Monday, the Post reported. When asked about Gotti’s cancer, he told the paper, “No comment.”
During an appearance Monday night on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Gotti herself downplayed the story, saying that she had not been diagnosed with actual cancer, but that she had had pre-cancerous cells that she had opted to treat aggressively. “What I had can be described as a scare,” she said.
The cancer claim came as the third season of Growing Up Gotti was set to begin this week.