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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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Research

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

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

December 19, 2014

A Game-Changing Holiday Gift for People with BRCA Mutations

Today is a landmark for the HBOC community! After almost a decade of research, AstraZeneca has received FDA approval for Lynparza (also known as olaparib) for women with BRCA mutations who have ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, and who responded favorably to their initial treatment. This is the first FDA-approved PARP inhibitor, and … + 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

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

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

February 24, 2013

Hopeful Progress in Ovarian Cancer Prevention Research

In 2008 FORCE conducted a survey to learn about research priorities for the HBOC community. We learned that women want better methods for ovarian cancer detection and prevention for ourselves, our children, and future generations. For this reason, we have worked closely with researchers exploring new options and we have carefully followed and shared with … + read more

February 11, 2013

Progress in Hereditary Cancer Treatment Research

Recently I participated in the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) semi-annual meeting in San Diego. The GOG is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, whose role is to promote and support clinical trials for cancers. As one of the members of the Patient Advocacy Committee of GOG I participate by providing the consumer perspective and … + read more

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