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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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Education, Medical Decisions, and Regret

December 15, 2014

Note: This article was originally posted in 2014 and updated on 05/12/16. An AARP article that contained an interview with rock stars Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge brought awareness to the individual and personal nature of genetic testing, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), and the medical challenges that accompany inherited breast cancer. The article also led to … + read more

FDA Approval of Promising Targeted Therapy Likely Stalled Until More Research Studies are Completed

June 29, 2014

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

Challenges to HBOC Research Enrollment: Competing Cancer Treatment Studies

March 24, 2014

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

Health Care Providers Can Help Accelerate Hereditary Cancer Research

March 3, 2014

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

FORCE 15: Reasons to Join FORCEs and Attend Our 8th Annual Conference

February 21, 2014

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

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI): Research Done Differently

February 1, 2014

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

Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, FORCE!

January 3, 2014

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

Preventive Guidelines Discriminate Against Cancer Survivors

December 8, 2013

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

Meeting the Challenges to Hereditary Cancer Research

October 2, 2013

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

Hereditary Cancer Impact Is More Than Skin Deep

August 22, 2013

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

Fear, Bravery and HBOC

July 7, 2013

Recently the topics of BRCA and bravery have been in the news. Previvor Angelina Jolie made headlines when she announced that she carries a BRCA1 mutation and underwent prophylactic bilateral mastectomies. Singer Melissa Etheridge, a BRCA2 mutation carrier and a breast cancer survivor, labeled Jolie’s choice of BPM as “fearful” rather than “brave.” Personally, I … + read more

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

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FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered