For five years, former CBS anchorwoman René Syler suffered through abnormal mammograms and painful biopsies—until she decided to take control of her health. Both René's mother and father had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she knew she could be next.
"Whenever a doctor finds out that your father had breast cancer, it's an immediate red flag, because men without a lot of estrogen should not be having breast cancer," René says.
With such a strong family history, René's risk factor was a concern for doctors. Then, five years ago her mammogram started showing signs of abnormality. "Every year I would go in, and every year it was the same thing. A mammogram followed by a biopsy, followed by three days of [wondering] if I have cancer."
At first, René underwent stereotactic biopsies, which use needles to remove the tissue. Then, the tests started to get more involved. "They would take out breast tissue that's roughly the size of a golf ball. And the last time, they had to take out three such areas in the left breast," René says.