On New Year’s Day we celebrated FORCE’s 13th birthday! Over the course of this year, we will highlight the significance of this milestone with blogs that emphasize the theme of “13.”
As my first blog of the new year, I am excited to share 13 things that FORCE will do to serve the hereditary cancer community in 2012.
- Our new book, Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny is a Johns Hopkins Press Health Book that is available for preorder and preview on Amazon. The book will be widely available in February.
- This month we are launching our inaugural FORCE Research Advocate Training (FRAT) Program that will train members of our community to become engaged in research review and safety panels. Training topics include cancer 101, basic genetics, introduction to clinical trials and research, patient protection, ethics, and more. Space is limited; however, there is still time to apply for participation. Contact Lisa Schlager (firstname.lastname@example.org) to apply for this program.
- Save the date for our Joining FORCEs conference: the largest annual gathering by and for the hereditary cancer community. Our 2012 conference will be held October 18-20, 2012 in Orlando.
- Our free “Be Empowered” webinars feature presentations by experts on topics of importance to our community. Our next two webinars will be on breast surveillance and updates from the IMPACT Study for men with mutations. Please check back soon for the dates and registration information.
- More than 50 outreach groups in the United States offer peer support, information, and resources. FORCE also has international groups. Our outreach coordinators act as a point of contact and offer face-to-face support meetings for our members.
- Our toll-free helpline provides peer support and resources for people who are concerned about hereditary cancer. We recently also launched our helpline for Spanish‐speaking callers.
- Our Patient Experience Contact Tool is a searchable database of surgeons who have provided services to community members, who can connect one-to-one and share information about their experiences. If you have had surgery to treat or prevent breast or ovarian cancer, please consider entering your information. If you are facing surgery, this tool can help you get feedback and referrals for surgeons in your area.
- Our Genetic Mutation Database is searchable by mutation and ethnicity and helps connect people who have the same mutation.
- FORCE will honor hereditary cancer previvors and survivors and recognize the challenges they face during National HBOC Week (the last week of September) and National Previvor Day (the Wednesday of the same week). FORCE made history in 2010 with its successful effort to pass a Congressional resolution officially acknowledging these significant days.
- Our Post Mastectomy Photo Gallery shares images of women after mastectomy and reconstruction. Coming this Spring, we are updating the gallery to allow women to post their own postsurgical photos.
- Show & Tell: The Book will be a new resource with photos of women after mastectomy with and without reconstruction. Available in the Fall, this resource will feature the models’ personal comments about their experiences, information about their surgeries, and references to relevant chapters in The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook by Kathy Steligo.
- We will continue to advocate strongly for hereditary cancer research. For example, it has now been seven years since we introduced our community to PARP inhibitors as targeted cancer therapy for people with BRCA mutations. (Although initial studies have been promising, due to many challenges the research has not yet progressed to trials to seek FDA approval.) Check our advocacy pages in the coming months for updates.
- We will continue our efforts to endow our Hereditary Cancer Research Fund to make a difference and improve prevention, screening, and treatment options for people with hereditary cancer through research. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide input as we assess our community’s research priorities.