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Advocacy

FORCE advocates for families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in areas such as access to care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.

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Newsflash

11/8/17
FORCE, along with 60 other patient groups, is asking the Senate to preserve medical expense deductions in any forthcoming tax reform legislation.  

10/25/17
We joined over 100 Defense Health Research Consortium orgs in supporting DoD research funding. Learn more...

9/22/17
Check out this new video w/FORCE & 15 other cancer orgs representing patients, physicians, nurses, & social workers. Oppose Graham-Cassidy! See Video...

9/14/17
FORCE reps were in St. Louis today for an ICER hearing on the value and cost of PARP inhibitors for ovarian cancer patients.

Screening & Prevention

A number of government agencies and professional societies publish screening and prevention guidelines for people at high risk of cancer. The standard of care for individuals at risk of hereditary cancers includes genetic counseling and testing, increased screening, chemoprevention and/or risk-reducing surgeries. FORCE tracks and influences these guidelines as appropriate and provides the most current information about the recommended services and interventions.

Treatments & Therapies

Cancer Research Funding

Federal funding for cancer research has led to significant advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life for patients. More than 14 million U.S. cancer survivors are alive today, largely because of the nation’s commitment to cancer research. The main sources of cancer research funding in the U.S. are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

Executive Actions Pose New Challenges for U.S. Health Care

Frustrated by the lack of progress on health care reform, on October 12, President Trump issued an executive order which could undermine the individual and small group health insurance markets. The order allows “junk” association and short-term health plans. The same day, the White House announced that it is planning to halt cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) which help health insurance companies offset out-of-pocket medical costs for low-income enrollees, keeping coverage affordable. In essence, without changing or repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these actions authorize federal agencies to modify regulations so that more health plans would be exempt from some of its core requirements. 

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

Senate Drops ACA Repeal Effort

A bill introduced in the Senate—referred to as the Graham-Cassidy plan—briefly gained momentum but was dropped when it couldn't garner enough support for passage. Facing a deadline of September 30th to pass legislation with a simple majority vote, the controversial bill drew criticism from patient advocacy groups, medical societies, and others. The revised ACA repeal plan would have given states broad waiver authority to eliminate the ACA’s core protections for people with preexisting health conditions. These waivers would have come on top of the proposal’s elimination of the ACA’s marketplace subsidies and Medicaid expansion, radical restructuring of the rest of the Medicaid program, and large cuts to total federal funding for health insurance coverage.

Screening & Prevention

FORCE Weighs In on Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines

FORCE recently submitted comments on the USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement and Evidence Review for Prostate Cancer Screening. Once finalized, these guidelines are utilized by health care providers to determine appropriate screening and care, and to inform insurance coverage decisions on specific preventive services. The Affordable Care Act stipulates that any preventive service receiving a USPSTF rating of “A” or “B” must be covered by most health plans with no copay or cost-sharing for the patient. Consequently, these guidelines impact access to care for members of the hereditary cancer community.

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

Insurance Coverage of Annual Screening Mammograms

In early 2016 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new breast cancer screening guidelines which recommended raising the minimum age for annual screening mammograms for “average risk” women to 50. If implemented, women between the ages of 40 and 49 would likely lose access to yearly breast screening mammography. FORCE was a leader in efforts to curtail the proposed guidelines, preserving 100% insurance coverage of this lifesaving cancer screening for all women starting at age 40.

Screening & Prevention

Ovarian Cancer Screening for High-Risk Women

Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. An estimated 20% of these cancers are due to hereditary factors such as a BRCA genetic mutation. Women with inherited predispositions face greatly increased risk of this, and possibly other cancers. A number of tests have been evaluated as screening methods for early stage ovarian cancer but none have proven reliable. In September 2016, the FDA released a Safety Communication recommending against the use of ovarian cancer screening tests. FORCE responded with a letter to the FDA and an official statement on the issue.

Screening & Prevention

Precision Medicine Initiative

Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease prevention and treatment that takes people's individual variations in genes, environment, and lifestyle into account. The Precision Medicine Initiative® (PMI) aims to generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into clinical practice. Individuals with or at increased risk of heredtiary cancer are ideal candidates for the practice of precision medcine, also known as personalized medicine. FORCE has been engaged in a number of PMI meetings and strategy sessions to help frame this immense effort.

Screening & Prevention

FORCE Weighs In on SCOTUS Oral Contraception Cases

In March 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases about birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA mandates coverage of several preventative services with no cost sharing, one of which is birth control. In these cases, the companies asserted that the mandate infringes on their religious rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is a women's health issue for our community, as oral contraceptives have been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. FORCE joined the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and others in submitting an amicus brief on this issue. 

Screening & Prevention

PSA Screening Guidelines Fall Short: High-Risk Men have Unique Needs

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted new screening guidelines for prostate cancer in May 2012. FORCE issued a position statement and submitted suggestions to Task Force regarding the draft guidelines. The USPSTF responded to our concerns about high-risk men and made changes to its final guidelines. 

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