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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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Government Regulations

December 8, 2013

Preventive Guidelines Discriminate Against Cancer Survivors

FORCE has created a change.org petition to ask the United States Preventive Services Task Force to change their guidelines to include cancer survivors. You can read more about the issue and the petition below.   The United States Preventive Services Task Force (US The panel wields considerable power over consumer access to preventive health care … + 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 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

August 6, 2012

Applying Personalized Medicine to Disease Screening and Prevention

Personalized medicine uses information about an individual’s genetic make-up to deliver the right screening, prevention, or treatment options at the right time to achieve the best medical outcome. Genetic counseling, risk assessment, and genetic testing to determine inherited predisposition for diseases are important and growing areas of personalized medicine that further this goal. Critics have … + read more

June 1, 2012

13 Facts that Men with Hereditary Cancer Risk Should Know

As we approach Father’s Day we would like to call attention to an often forgotten group: men who have a BRCA mutation or a family history of hereditary cancer. Although men don’t get ovarian cancer and their risk for breast cancer is very low, we are learning more and more about how hereditary cancer risk … + read more

February 22, 2012

Exclusive gene patent on BRCA: Adding burden to an already overburdened community

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is gathering information on the impact of gene patenting on genetic diagnostic in order to prepare a report to Congress under the America Invents Act. The USPTO is soliciting public commentary on this important issue by organizing public hearings. This past Thursday, Lisa Schlager, Vice President of Community Affairs and Public Policy … + read more

November 2, 2011

Advocating for Men: Responding to the USPSTF Recommendations against PSA

I am concerned both on a professional and personal level about the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recent draft guidelines that recommend against PSA screening for men of average risk or who are high risk by virtue of a family history of cancer. FORCE has prepared a position statement in response to this … + read more

December 3, 2009

The community speaks out! Your thoughts on the USPSTF breast screening guideline changes.

Newly-recommended changes for breast cancer screening by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are getting a lot of attention and proving to be controversial. The task force: Recommended against screening mammography for women ages 40–49. Recommended screening mammography in women older than 50 be performed  biennially rather than annually. Recommended against teaching or … + read more

November 10, 2009

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing: the latest FORCE testimony to SACGHS and FDA feedback

Recently FORCE submitted testimony to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics Health and Society (SACGHS) about our continuing concerns about the need for government oversight of the marketing of genetic tests to consumers and health care providers.  Below is an excerpt from our testimony. Dear Distinguished members of the committee, I represent the lay advocacy group, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), … + read more

December 3, 2008

Comments Submitted to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics Health and Society

Yesterday I had the honor of being asked to submit public commentary to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics Health and Society.  This committee reports to the Secretary of Health and tackles the emerging and challenging issues being faced as genetic research expands at a rapid pace.  The committee seemed very interested in my statement and members … + read more

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FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered