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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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Media

February 19, 2016

4 Reasons Why Women Affected by Breast Cancer Should Question Health Information Shared from the Media

Where do women affected by breast cancer typically go to find credible information?   Like most people, women affected by breast cancer turn to the mainstream media—the news or the Internet—to read up on what’s going on in the world. Whether looking for an update on the presidential debate, checking to see when the big … + read more

January 26, 2016

5 Quick Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Evaluate Health Information Shared by the News or Media

Have you ever seen a headline or read a story in the news or media with health information that made you wonder whether or not it was reliable? If you said yes, you are not alone. Today, it can be hard to know what to believe. Headlines like, “How a Breast Cancer Gene May Affect … + read more

September 27, 2015

Beyond Awareness: Working to Improve Outcomes for People Facing Hereditary Cancer

This week we mark National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week, and on Wednesday, National Previvor Day. This awareness campaign acknowledges the over one million people and families in the United States affected by hereditary cancer, due to a BRCA, PALB2, PTEN, ATM or other mutation linked to these cancers or a strong family history … + read more

August 24, 2015

XRAYS Program Looks Behind the Headlines to Make Sense of Cancer Research

FORCE is proud to launch our new program, eXamining the Relevance of Articles for Young Survivors (XRAYS). Funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the XRAYS program was developed to meet a growing need as more and more medical research articles on breast cancer are making the headlines. With the rise of social media, more consumers are turning … + read more

March 31, 2015

Angelina Jolie and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Kudos to Angelina Jolie Pitt for sharing her BRCA status and news of her prophylactic surgeries with the world, soon after her risk-reducing mastectomy two years ago and again last week when she wrote about her bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Her two op-eds brought an unprecedented level of awareness about hereditary cancer, making words like “mutation” and … + read more

December 15, 2014

Education, Medical Decisions, and Regret

Note: This article was originally posted in 2014 and updated on 05/12/16. An AARP article that contained an interview with rock stars Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge brought awareness to the individual and personal nature of genetic testing, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), and the medical challenges that accompany inherited breast cancer. The article also led to … + 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

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

January 17, 2013

Drawing Attention To High-risk Screening

Reports are everywhere in the media about which celebrities underwent prophylactic mastectomy, the difficulty of their decision, and why these women made the choice. These media reports can be helpful to our community as they raise awareness of hereditary cancer risk and risk-management and remove the stigma of mastectomy. However, given the media focus on … + read more

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