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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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Precision Medicine

November 14, 2016

Voices of FORCE: A BRCA Mutation is a Factor in Pancreatic Cancer

By Rona Greenberg Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is part of my family history. My grandmother, Rebecca, for whom I am named, died from breast/ovarian cancer in1934; my mother was ten years old. My mother died from the same cancer in 1967; I was nineteen years old with three younger sisters. In 1997, I was … + read more

May 19, 2016

Updates in Research on Treating Hereditary Cancers

Note: This post which was originally published 08/4/15 was just updated on 05/19/16. In December 2014, the FDA approved the first targeted therapy for people with BRCA mutations. Lynparza, a type of medication known as a PARP inhibitor, was approved for women with a BRCA mutation to treat advanced ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer that has progressed after … + read more

March 3, 2016

OlympiA: A Landmark Breast Cancer PARP Inhibitor Clinical Trial

by Sue Friedman Great progress has been made since the identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and their link to causing breast, ovarian, pancreatic and other cancers. Over the last two decades, researchers have studied how BRCA mutations cause cancer in an effort to develop new treatments. In December 2014, Lynparza, (olaparib), a type … + read more

March 2, 2016

NCCN Summit Explores Patient Perspectives of Value in Cancer Care

by Lisa Schlager Our January 8, 2016 blog introduced the emerging topic of value in cancer care and the importance of public participation in this discussion. On December 1, 2015, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) hosted a Patient Advocacy Summit titled Value in Cancer Care – Patient Perspectives in Washington, DC.  I was fortunate … + read more

January 29, 2016

Mammogram Update: Latest Screening Guidelines Finalized But Not Implemented

by Lisa Schlager Few health issues have stirred as much debate as the guidelines surrounding screening mammograms for average-risk women. Recent changes in national guidelines threatened access to mammograms for women age 40-49. FORCE worked together with other groups to pass laws that assure continued access to mammograms for women in this age group. At … + read more

January 8, 2016

Value in Cancer Care: Including Consumers in the Dialogue

by Lisa Schlager, Vice President of Policy and Community Affairs Value and access to appropriate health care is of vital importance to patients and their families, particularly as cancer diagnoses continue to rise—up more than 20 percent in the past decade—and health care costs steadily increase. In this environment, more attention is being paid to … + read more

August 9, 2015

Guest Blog: Attending ASCO as a Research Advocate

By Robin Karlin Thirty thousand health professionals, fabulous views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, miles of escalators, fountains and crowded atriums, long lines at every Starbucks, session after session of the latest research and educational panels, and a fun evening at Shedd Aquarium. These were all part of my 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology … + read more

May 9, 2015

Newly proposed United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) breast cancer screening guidelines fail to address the needs of many women

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published its Draft Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines. Once finalized, these recommendations will replace current guidelines that were published in 2009. The proposed recommendations are specifically to guide decision-making about breast cancer screening for women of average breast cancer risk. The guidelines are particularly important for patients … + read more

April 13, 2015

Another Reason for People to Know Their BRCA Status

By sharing her BRCA status and news of her prophylactic surgeries with the world, Angelina Jolie Pitt has raised awareness about BRCA testing and hereditary cancer to new heights. Her op-eds have created the “the Angelina Effect,” a term describing how her celebrity has increased demand for these services. Still, many people who meet national … + 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

March 5, 2015

Regulating the Next Generation of Genetic Tests

Gene sequencing – also known as genetic testing – is the process scientists use to analyze DNA in search of mutations and variations in an effort to discover more about the connection between genes and traits, health and disease. Since the discovery of BRCA 1 in 1994, the sequencing of genes to find mutations has … + read more

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