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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XRAYS

September 21, 2018

Headline Hype: Media Report on BRCA1 Variant Research Plays on Fears

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Most people who have genetic testing for BRCA1, BRCA2 or other genes associated with cancer risk receive either a positive or a negative test result. A positive genetic test result indicates that a change called a mutation was found in a gene which is associated with increased cancer risk. A negative genetic test … + read more

June 14, 2018

XRAYS Blog: Me and My MSH6 Mutation: Ever Searching for Answers

by Aya It all started with Mother’s histopathology report on her partially resected small bowel. She had small bowel cancer. With my middle name being “I-want-to-know-more,” I asked for a pathology report after a post-op consultation with her surgeon where future management was discussed.  When I read the report at home, I noticed an aspect … + read more

May 11, 2018

Battling BRCA: International Conference in Iceland on BRCA and Cancer

by Kristín Hannesdóttir and Anna Margrét Bjarnadóttir On March 10th, BRCA Iceland hosted its first international conference. Sue Friedman, Executive Director, Founder of FORCE, was the keynote speaker. In June 2017, we attended the FORCE conference in Orlando. We barely knew each other at the time, but we are both BRCA2 carriers, have lost several … + read more

March 15, 2018

Headline Hype: A Picture as Misleading as a Thousand Words

by Welcsh, PhD The FDA announced last week that it had approved the first direct-to-consumer (DTC) test for 3 mutations in BRCA genes. FORCE was concerned about consumer understanding of the limited nature of the test and released this statement in response to the FDA report. The FDA announcement and the resulting media coverage will … + read more

January 17, 2018

Headline Hype: Why You Can’t Believe Everything You Read

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Our first “Headline Hype” blog post – published just a few days ago – addresses misleading information in a Newsweek article about recently published breast cancer research in Lancet Oncology. Now, it appears the media is on a roll. We were disturbed to learn about another media story focused on the same Lancet … + read more

January 13, 2018

Headline Hype: BRCA and Risk of Dying from Cancer

by Piri Welcsh, PhD An article published yesterday in Newsweek with the incredibly misleading title “A Gene That ‘Causes Cancer’ Probably Doesn’t Increase Your Chances of Dying from Cancer” created quite a social media stir.  This media story, and the research that it reports on, will be the subject of a future XRAYS article. We … + read more

January 9, 2018

The Cultural Chasm and Challenges of Being a Young Asian American Cancer Survivor

by Amy Wu In the aftermath of my cancer diagnosis and treatment, an advocate–at times raging and impatient—unexpectedly emerged. I consider myself an introvert, in some ways fitting into the stereotypes of the model Asian American—hardworking, obedient and conservative, but the close call with what I was convinced was death at the age of 37 … + read more

November 2, 2017

When Breast Cancer Treatment Ends: Thoughts On “Can Breast Cancer Come Back?” XRAYS Review

by Jennifer Hintz Note:  Jennifer’s story was submitted in response to our recent XRAY review published July 2017: Can Breast Cancer Come Back? If you have would like to submit a blog post related to one of our XRAYS articles, please contact medhas@facingourrisk.org. I was thrilled to finally hear the words from my oncologist: “You’ve done … + read more

August 22, 2017

100th XRAYS: 5 Lessons We Have Learned

by Lisa Rezende, PhD and Julie Huynh, MS Today we celebrate the publication of our 100th XRAYS review. It’s amazing to think how the program we developed over the past three years has grown to serve over 70,000 people affected by breast cancer. We knew the need was there. We saw how catchy headlines like … + read more

June 1, 2017

Chemo and Hair Loss Is More Than a Vanity Issue

by Sue Friedman I was happy to read the XRAYS report on research about scalp cooling to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. Chemo-related hair loss is more than merely an inconvenience during cancer treatment. My own experience as a young breast cancer survivor on chemotherapy convinced me of this. I was 33 when I was … + read more

May 18, 2017

Science and the Media: Help vs. Hype

by Piri Welcsh, PhD and Sue Friedman, DVM When making medical decisions, getting information right is more important than getting it fast. This is especially true for our community, when results of a genetic test or a breast biopsy can add a sense of urgency to medical decision-making. But finding factual data or input—help, not … + read more

March 1, 2017

Making Postmastectomy Decisions: The Right Input is Critical

Note: This is part 3 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” In part 1 of the series, FORCE volunteer, Robin Karlin discusses her decisions after mastectomy, and her feelings post-reconstruction. In part 2, Sue Friedman talks about the affect of … + read more

February 27, 2017

After Mastectomy: Go Flat or Reconstruct

Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” FORCE volunteer, Robin Karlin discusses her decisions after mastectomy in part 1 of the series. by Sue Friedman In 1997, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. … + read more

February 23, 2017

Post-Reconstruction Thoughts on “Going Flat”

Note: This is part 1 of a 3-part series related to our recent XRAYS review on Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.” by Robin Karlin Roni Caryn Rabin’s New York Times piece, “‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer,” brings much-needed awareness to the option of skipping reconstruction after mastectomies for breast … + read more

December 15, 2016

Paradigm Shift: A Journalist and Survivor Tackles the New Normal of News

By Amy Wu Caught amidst a tsunami of daily news stories, posts and news alerts – Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, NPR, The New York Times, VICE, CNN, The Guardian and The Washington Post, where do I start? I click, I swipe, scroll and scan. Since the advent of the smartphone and the ease of the wireless … + read more

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