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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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personal stories

February 15, 2017

Guest Blog: Join FORCEs at our 2017 HBOC Conference!

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

December 22, 2016

Voices of FORCE: My journey with cancer: from witness to young previvor

by Alexandria Groves My journey “with cancer” began when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. I’m the oldest of three daughters: I was seven at the time, Kiersten was five, and Victoria was one. Why did my “journey with cancer” begin back then? Because since then, breast cancer and … + read more

October 12, 2016

Guest Blog: From Previvor to Survivor

By Angela Schmidt Fishbaugh, M.Ed., CET II I tested positive in 2009 for the BRCA1 deleterious mutated gene. Back then, at the age of 41 I became a previvor. I made the decision to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy followed by a total hysterectomy. I had both surgeries within eight weeks of one another. At that … + read more

October 1, 2015

Guest Blog: An HBOC Week Message from Representative Wasserman Schultz

By Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz I’m honored to have an opportunity to work with FORCE to promote awareness about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer. FORCE plays a crucial role in the cancer awareness and advocacy community, particularly for those of us who have been personally affected by genetic cancers. We share the fundamental belief that … + read more

September 28, 2015

Thanks Dave Bushman, for Sharing Your Story and Supporting FORCE’s Work

  Why I fundraise: When FORCE announced its FOR OUR CHILDREN fundraising effort, I immediately signed up. Although I was extremely reluctant to ask friends and relatives to donate, I knew that many of them would respond because they know how much FORCE means to me. My wife Jessie is fundraising, too – it’s a … + read more

September 3, 2015

Guest Blog: We All Deserve the Chance to Make Decisions About Our Futures

By Teri Woodhull Like most families in the FORCE community, cancer followed my family for generations. Breast cancer touched my mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, and my mother’s first cousin. And me. We knew it had to be more than a coincidence. My mother died at 46 of breast cancer. Her oncologist and other … + 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

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

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 21, 2013

Thoughts on Turning 50: Recovery

The first time I met with my running coach, she had me run a quarter mile as fast as I could. As I neared the finish, I remember feeling like I was drowning. As soon as I finished she had me slow to a jog without stopping and timed me as I continued this very … + 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

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

October 31, 2012

A Healing Light From Within

Below are excerpts from our Joining FORCEs conference welcome address and a keynote talk that I recently gave in Chicago. Fifteen years ago, there was no FORCE. Back then, hereditary cancer was scarier and lonelier than it is today. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, it was caught early. I … + read more

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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