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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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Thoughts on Turning 50: Recovery

June 21, 2013

The first time I met with my running coach, she had me run a quarter mile as fast as I could. As I neared the finish, I remember feeling like I was drowning. As soon as I finished she had me slow to a jog without stopping and timed me as I continued this very … + read more

Increased Awareness Leads to Accelerated Research

June 6, 2013

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

Maximizing Access to BRCA Testing by Involving Genetics Experts

May 24, 2013

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

Every Story Matters

May 20, 2013

Since Angelina Jolie recently shared her personal experience with genetic testing and prophylactic surgery in the New York Times, public awareness of hereditary cancer is at an all-time high. The media surrounding Ms. Jolie’s revelations has also provided unparalleled opportunities for members of the HBOC community to share their personal accounts as well. How did … + read more

Proposed Guidelines on BRCA Testing Leave Many Gaps

May 19, 2013

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

Thoughts on Turning 50: Transformations

April 3, 2013

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

Gene Discovery, Patents, and the Community

March 22, 2013

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

Creating More Resources for High-Risk Women Undergoing Breast Cancer Screening

March 16, 2013

Women at high risk for breast cancer are not receiving the information, access to care, or support they need to address their elevated cancer risk. Despite guidelines on risk assessment and management, many women are not accurately informed about their high-risk status or the risk-management options required to make informed health care decisions. Some high-risk … + read more

Hopeful Progress in Ovarian Cancer Prevention Research

February 24, 2013

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

Progress in Hereditary Cancer Treatment Research

February 11, 2013

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

Drawing Attention To High-risk Screening

January 17, 2013

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

Happy New Year/Happy Birthday FORCE

January 1, 2013

Dearest Friends, Please indulge me in posting my annual new year/birthday wish to FORCE on my blog. It’s hard to believe another year has gone by! Tonight, FORCE and this community will celebrate our 14th birthday. This year even more than previous years it feels as though we have grown and accomplished so much! FORCE was … + read more

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

December 12, 2012

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

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Screening Mammography

December 3, 2012

Two recent research articles have questioned the value of mammograms and opened up a dialogue about possible benefits and harms of screening for breast cancer. One study looked at mammography in the general population and the other in high-risk young women. Both studies raise interesting concerns, but neither provides the definitive answers needed to dismiss … + read more

13 Things About Breast Reconstruction

November 10, 2012

A guest blog by Kathy Steligo Although many women choose to forego breast reconstruction, it is almost always an option after mastectomy. Research shows that reconstruction can improve psychological well-being and quality of life, and result in improved body image and self-esteem. Most women are not informed about breast reconstruction before their mastectomy, however, so … + read more

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FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered