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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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February 3, 2015

Spreading HBOC Advocacy to Japan

Last month I had the honor of giving two talks at a conference organized by the Japanese HBOC Consortium in Tokyo: one for patients and the other for health care providers. Most people in Japan have little input into their health care decisions and do not question their doctors’ recommendations. The conference organizers hoped that … + read more

June 29, 2014

FDA Approval of Promising Targeted Therapy Likely Stalled Until More Research Studies are Completed

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 was a pivotal day for our community. It began with promise and ended with disappointment. For the first time ever, a treatment targeted for BRCA-associated cancers was considered for approval by the FDA. Yesterday the FDA’s Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC) held a hearing to consider FDA approval of the drug … + read more

March 24, 2014

Challenges to HBOC Research Enrollment: Competing Cancer Treatment Studies

Research is the key to better medical options. In prior blogs, I outlined some of the barriers to completing hereditary cancer research. This is the next blog in our series about addressing the barriers to hereditary cancer research. Hereditary cancers make up a small subset of a larger disease state. About 7% of all breast … + read more

March 3, 2014

Health Care Providers Can Help Accelerate Hereditary Cancer Research

Why HBOC research is important Hereditary cancers constitute a small subset of a larger disease state. About 7% of breast cancers and 18% of ovarian cancers are due to a BRCA mutation. The HBOC community shoulders a disproportionate cancer burden, facing lifetime cancer risks that are higher than any other known population. Our cancers tend … + read more

February 21, 2014

FORCE 15: Reasons to Join FORCEs and Attend Our 8th Annual Conference

Need a reason to attend this year’s Joining FORCEs Conference? Here are 15 good ones: It’s the largest annual gathering by and for the hereditary cancer community.  Be a part of this landmark event. We make the latest science understandable and accessible. Hear experts clearly explain the science of hereditary cancer and make the latest … + read more

February 1, 2014

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI): Research Done Differently

What is PCORI? The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is a new government-supported agency that approaches medical research with a focus on the patient to improve health outcomes. Aiming to answer medical questions that are most important to patients and collecting data from “real world settings,” this differs from traditional research, which typically occurs at … + read more

October 2, 2013

Meeting the Challenges to Hereditary Cancer Research

This week is National HBOC week and today is National Previvor Day; personally this season is marked by equal doses of reflection, recollection, gratitude, and action. Much progress has been made in cancer research in the 15 years since I learned about my mutation and founded FORCE. Perhaps most exciting are the advances in “personalized … + read more

August 22, 2013

Hereditary Cancer Impact Is More Than Skin Deep

Articles about Angelina Jolie’s revelation that she underwent genetic testing and prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction often emphasize her as one of the world’s most beautiful women, who is still beautiful after all that she has endured. This message can be reassuring; by going public, Ms. Jolie put a more positive spin on the stigmatizing effect … + read more

July 7, 2013

Fear, Bravery and HBOC

Recently the topics of BRCA and bravery have been in the news. Previvor Angelina Jolie made headlines when she announced that she carries a BRCA1 mutation and underwent prophylactic bilateral mastectomies. Singer Melissa Etheridge, a BRCA2 mutation carrier and a breast cancer survivor, labeled Jolie’s choice of BPM as “fearful” rather than “brave.” Personally, I … + read more

June 6, 2013

Increased Awareness Leads to Accelerated Research

About a million people in the United States carry a BRCA mutation; less than 10% of them are aware of their elevated cancer threat. Recent media coverage of Angelina Jolie’s BRCA status and risk-reducing double mastectomy has brought unprecedented attention to these issues. These reports will narrow the awareness gap while erasing stigmas that are … + read more

May 24, 2013

Maximizing Access to BRCA Testing by Involving Genetics Experts

Note: The below is an updated version of a post in 2008 right after the documentary In the Family was released, and actress Christina Applegate announced she had a BRCA 1 mutation. Five years later, this post is more relevant than ever.  As the dust clears since Angelina Jolie went public with her BRCA status, the impact … + read more

May 20, 2013

Every Story Matters

Since Angelina Jolie recently shared her personal experience with genetic testing and prophylactic surgery in the New York Times, public awareness of hereditary cancer is at an all-time high. The media surrounding Ms. Jolie’s revelations has also provided unparalleled opportunities for members of the HBOC community to share their personal accounts as well. How did … + read more

May 19, 2013

Proposed Guidelines on BRCA Testing Leave Many Gaps

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a government-supported independent panel of experts that reviews and develops recommendations on select preventive health services. The panel assigns letter grades to preventive services based on their opinion of strength of the research evidence. The task force just released a draft of their guidelines on genetic … + read more

March 22, 2013

Gene Discovery, Patents, and the Community

Recently a dear friend sent me a link to an article in the February 1996 issue of Nature Medicine. The article by journalist Adam Marcus covered a media event and panel of women’s rights advocates expressing concern about Myriad’s impending patenting of the BRCA1 gene. Panelists declared unregulated genetic testing to be the coming century’s … + read more

March 16, 2013

Creating More Resources for High-Risk Women Undergoing Breast Cancer Screening

Women at high risk for breast cancer are not receiving the information, access to care, or support they need to address their elevated cancer risk. Despite guidelines on risk assessment and management, many women are not accurately informed about their high-risk status or the risk-management options required to make informed health care decisions. Some high-risk … + read more

Connect with others.

Call our Helpline

Our helpline offers peer support for people concerned about hereditary cancer. All calls are confidential. Call any time.

Join a Local Group

FORCE has outreach groups throughout the United States and in Essex, United Kingdom that meet periodically to offer peer support, and share resources.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered