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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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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

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

January 3, 2014

Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, FORCE!

Just after midnight on New Year’s Day 1999, I formalized a plan that I had consideredfor months. That day FORCE was born. I could write volumes on the many ways FORCE has impacted every aspect of my life, but this blog is about FORCE’s achievements and how the organization has helped people and families affected … + read more

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

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

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 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

April 3, 2013

Thoughts on Turning 50: Transformations

For many people, turning 50 is an unappreciated milestone that they would rather not acknowledge, but I feel differently. Some people find themselves going through a midlife crisis; me, I’m facing 50 by signing up and training for my first marathon! Like most of us I’ve undergone many transformations in my life. Some have been … + 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

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

December 12, 2012

Clinical Trials for Hereditary Cancer: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

This blog is a call to action! Please read on, and then post, blog, tweet, retweet, and share about this issue so that we can assure that hereditary cancer research continues! The call for more research is a constant theme for all diseases including cancer, and sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated by the slow pace … + 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