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FORCE Blog

This blog will cover topics of interest that affect our community. Unless otherwise stated, the blog articles will be written by Sue Friedman, Executive Director of FORCE.

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Chemo and Hair Loss Is More Than a Vanity Issue

June 1, 2017

by Sue Friedman I was happy to read the XRAYS report on research about scalp cooling to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. Chemo-related hair loss is more than merely an inconvenience during cancer treatment. My own experience as a young breast cancer survivor on chemotherapy convinced me of this. I was 33 when I was … + read more

Science and the Media: Help vs. Hype

May 18, 2017

by Piri Welsch, PhD and Sue Friedman, DVM When making medical decisions, getting information right is more important than getting it fast. This is especially true for our community, when results of a genetic test or a breast biopsy can add a sense of urgency to medical decision-making. But finding factual data or input—help, not … + read more

The Lights of May

May 14, 2017

Special note: In honor of Mother’s Day 2017, and my son, Beau’s graduation which is next week, I’m recycling this post that I wrote in 2012. This post is as relevant as when I wrote it 5 years ago. I have yet to see a firefly in Tampa but tonight I will look extra hard. … + read more

Fueling Patient-Focused Health Care

May 11, 2017

by Melanie Nix I know a woman who has hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome. She is a triple negative breast cancer survivor. She has a BRCA1 gene mutation and is the fifth generation in her family to have breast cancer. She lost her youngest aunt to ovarian cancer after multiple battles with both … + read more

Genetic Testing Informs Important Medical Decisions for Three Generations in a Family

May 3, 2017

When Holly Jonas of Long Island, NY learned that her mother had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 79, it felt like déjà vu. Her mom, who has a BRCA1 gene mutation, was already a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 48. Believing that “knowledge is power,” Holly … + read more

Reflections on the March for Science

April 23, 2017

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Scientists rarely, if ever, come together across disciplines to achieve a common goal. That is unfortunate, as I believe most scientists share a common passion, and deep down, we know we can accomplish so much more collaboratively. I think that most would agree that what motivates us to conduct scientific research … + read more

Introducing Myself to the FORCE Community

April 10, 2017

by Piri Welcsh, PhD I am honored to begin a new phase of my career as FORCE’s Vice President of Education. I’d like to introduce myself by telling you a bit of a long story. I will tell this over time in several parts. The story is that of the “The Race” to Clone BRCA1. … + read more

Genetic Testing Results In An Early Stage Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

March 30, 2017

After discovering that her mother carried the BRCA1 mutation, Ilana Feuchter of Vienna, Virginia decided to get tested as well, a decision that would ultimately lead to her diagnosis of Stage 2 ovarian cancer in November of 2013. Ilana’s journey began in the Spring of 2013 after her mother was diagnosed with a cancer of … + read more

SOLO3: A Clinical Trial Comparing the PARP Inhibitor, Olaparib to Standard Chemotherapy for Platinum-Sensitive Relapsed Ovarian Cancer

March 28, 2017

by Jordan Dietrich  SOLO3 SOLO3 is an exciting phase III ovarian cancer clinical trial that studies the effectiveness and safety of the PARP inhibitor Olaparib (Lynparza) compared to single-agent standard chemotherapy in women with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer with germline BRCA1/2 mutations. The trial is designed to confirm the benefit of Olaparib in this subset of … + read more

Making Postmastectomy Decisions: The Right Input is Critical

March 1, 2017

Note: This is part 3 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” In part 1 of the series, FORCE volunteer, Robin Karlin discusses her decisions after mastectomy, and her feelings post-reconstruction. In part 2, Sue Friedman talks about the affect of … + read more

After Mastectomy: Go Flat or Reconstruct

February 27, 2017

Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” FORCE volunteer, Robin Karlin discusses her decisions after mastectomy in part 1 of the series. by Sue Friedman In 1997, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. … + read more

Post-Reconstruction Thoughts on “Going Flat”

February 23, 2017

Note: This is part 1 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” by Robin Karlin Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer,” brings much-needed awareness to the option of skipping reconstruction after mastectomies for breast … + read more

Guest Blog: Join FORCEs at our 2017 HBOC Conference!

February 15, 2017

by guest blogger, Jane E. Herman When I boarded the flight for my first trip to Orlando in June 2011, my goal was not to hug Mickey Mouse or visit Cinderella’s Castle. Rather, my destination was the sixth annual Joining FORCEs Conference. Not knowing anyone who would be in attendance, I was – not unexpectedly … + read more

MEDIOLA: A Clinical Trial Combining a PARP Inhibitor with an Immunotherapy Drug

January 31, 2017

By Ding Wang, MD and Catherine Jenovai Immune system and cancer Every day our bodies are exposed to various injuries that may damage our cells. The damaged cells with certain types of genetic defects are tagged as abnormal and removed by our immune system. If something goes wrong and the cells are not removed by … + read more

Flawed Research and Reporting on the “Angelina Effect” Could Threaten Access to HBOC Care

January 26, 2017

by Lisa Schlager, Lisa Rezende, PhD and Sue Friedman “Angeline Effect” Angelina Jolie’s May 2013 New York Times editorial “My Medical Choice,” which detailed her decision to have a double mastectomy because she carries a BRCA1 mutation brought unprecedented attention to hereditary cancer and BRCA genetic testing. This “Angelina Effect” created an avalanche of public … + read more

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