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Rene Syler

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Rene Syler is a former news anchor for The Early Show on CBS, where she interviewed celebrities and politicians. She published Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting in March 2007 and continues with her television work. She is also the daughter of two breast cancer survivors and is now the ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She lives in Westchester, New York with her husband, Buff Parham, children Casey and Cole and their yellow Lab Olivia.

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The 5 Things I Gained By Losing My Breasts

By Rene Syler |

Photo credit: Rene Syler

I  know that’s kind of a shocking statement right? I mean really, what on earth could you gain by having your breasts surgically removed? Well, in my case quite a bit, actually.

As horrible as that sounds, that really led me right to the place I am today; strong, unshakable, survivor. I am the daughter of two breast cancer survivors; my mother and father were both diagnosed so I have  very strong family history. In 2003 I was diagnosed with a breast disease called Atypical Hyperplasia, thought of in some circles as a pre-cancerous condition.

I had four biopsies in four years, and during each one, a substantial amount of breast tissue was taken. When I laid down, I could feel right to my rib cage in some places, that’s how much tissue was missing. At one point I remember breaking down, crying about how this was not the way I wanted to live my life. So I decided to do something about it. My doctor and I began looking at ways to play offense;  keeping me cancer free as opposed to waiting for it to show up, which could have been the case based on family history and my own disease.

In case it’s still not clear, the bottom line is I removed both breasts before a cancer diagnosis. It’s not as though they were removing healthy breasts; it was pretty evident that, though not cancer, something was amiss. I did have genetic testing but it came back inconclusive. But we have to remember that while there are two known genes associated with increased risk for breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2) there could be more, yet undiscovered.

Needless to say, my surgery was just one more in a series of soul-shaking events in my life at that time. But now, six years later, I can say I’m better, faster, stronger for it.

So here it is, the list of the 5 things I gained by losing my breasts.
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The 5 Things I Gained By Losing My Breasts


This is my lovely mom, Anne Syler. There was no history of breast cancer in our family before her diagnosis. Do you know the number one risk factor for breast cancer? Being a woman and getting older. That means me.. and if you're a woman, you too.


Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.

Check me out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too.

Other posts by Rene:

See, Hair’s The Thing

The Slippery, Sugary Slope

Plastic Surgery… Can We Talk?


5 compliments every woman wants to hear
25 vintage ads that scream SEXISM
10 things I never thought I’d let my husband see me do… until now
18 questions all parents secretly ask
10 things to thank feminists for (and 10 that still need work)


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About Rene Syler


Rene Syler

Rene Syler is a former news anchor for The Early Show on CBS, where she interviewed celebrities and politicians. She published Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting in March 2007 and continues with her television work. She lives in Westchester, New York with her husband and two children. Read bio and latest posts → Read Rene's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “The 5 Things I Gained By Losing My Breasts

  1. Jen Singer says:

    I love your son’s assessment: You lost your job and got a boob job! What a lovely family you have, Rene!

  2. Loretta Simmons-Singleton says:

    Rene, I have always been your fan and when you had the surgery prayed for you everyday and still pray for you. Rene you are a very strong Lady and I am so proud to know you I have never met you but I know just from talking with you that you are the Best. Tell your Mom she is a strong Lady also I see where you get it from. Rene continue to do all you do for others in your community. Rene no matter where you are you bring so much courage to the People you come in contact with and I am so proud to be a friend of yours. I am sure if we ever meet I would be so very happy to meet a Role Model like you. When you were on Friends@Five in Columbia I miss the show because of work and hope you visit Columbia again. Rene you are one STRONG WOMAN! LOVE YOU LADY

  3. Jean-Ann Cooper says:

    Rich with wisdom! Thanks for the awesome post. Loved all 5 things and the photos added a great deal. You have a beautiful family, including Olivia.

  4. Farrell Ford says:

    My dear friend you really put it in a fashion that is so true. Fortunately for so many women out there you are the public face and voice that most of us can’t be and for that I am thankful.

    As you know I lost both my breast at the ripe old age of 27 and I honestly know I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not gone through that. That isn’t to say it was the least bit easy because it wasn’t, and I can’t say I’m glad it happened, but at 64 I can say that I’m very comfortable with who I am today because of what I learned through the journey and the support and friends along the way.

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