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Facing Breast Cancer?

Every three minutes in America, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the leading form of cancer in both white and African-American women. The latter are more likely to die from the disease.

To mark breast cancer awareness month, The Early Show presents a special three-part series on how education, early detection and routine mammograms are essential to breast cancer prevention.

The series, beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15, will include co-anchor René Syler's own intimate journey confronting the disease that has been a part of her family's history.

Part I
The first report focuses on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the importance of knowing one's family history. Both Syler's mother, Anne, and father, Bill, were diagnosed with breast cancer and survived (although, her father later passed away from a stroke).

Syler and her mother have a candid conversation about how, as a family, they dealt with Anne's diagnosis in 1997 of DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. Click here for the full report.

After finding a series of microcalifications during a routine mammogram she had in August, doctors suspected that René Syler, too, could have breast cancer. Her doctor advised her to have a biopsy in September.

Part II
The second report chronicles her experience and includes excerpts from a video diary that intimately documents her fears and, ultimately, her joy in the eventual diagnosis of atypia, abnormal cells that are non-cancerous but can lead to malignancy in the future. Click here for the full report.

Part III
The third and final segment runs on Friday, Oct. 17, National Mammography Day. Syler and Dr. Alexandra S. Heerdt of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center discuss the importance of early detection and obtaining regular mammography screenings. Click here for the full report.

And there is something you can do, too. Why not pledge to get a mammogram on your birthday or on National Mammography Day?