Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer is an international conference designed by and for people and families affected by hereditary cancer or a BRCA mutation.
June 18-20, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott.
Q. The conference is listed as June 18 –20. When should I plan to arrive and leave?
A. The conference early registration/check-in will begin on Thursday, June 18 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. You will also be able to register and check-in on Friday and Saturday mornings. We will have a welcome reception on Thursday evening (this is a fee based event) so if you are intersted in attending, plans your travel to arrive on Thursday afternoon. The actual conference sessions don’t begin until Friday morning. Most people will arrive Thursday and stay until Sunday, June 21. You can take advantage of our conference block hotel rates for stays as early as Tuesday before the conference and as late as the Monday after the conference.
Q. I have registered prior to the conference. Where should I go when I arrive?
A. If you are staying at the Marriott Hotel, then you may want to check into your hotel room upon arrival. Hotel check-in is on the lobby-level. This is where valet parking is located and where an airport shuttle or taxi will drop you off.
Once you have checked into your room, or if you are staying at another hotel , you can check in for the conference between 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Thursday, June 18, anytime after 7:30 am on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20. Conference registration/check-in will be located in the hotel's convention center on the 4th floor. We will have volunteers posted to direct you to conference registration/check-in. You can also ask the hotel concierge if you need further assistance.
Q: I’m arriving on the 18th and staying until the evening of the 21st, is there anything for me to do on Thursday and Sunday?
A: Our conference hotel is near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and downtown dining, shopping and attractions. The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown commands a towering presence in the heart of America's original capital. Surrounded by rich revolutionary history and culture, the hotel's downtown location puts guests in close proximity to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, both located within eight blocks. The propert features a fitness center and indoor pool. The hotel is just a few blocks from Reading Terminal Market, a unique and extraordinary historic farmers market in Center City
In addition we have several conference events scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Visit our Travel and Lodging page for more information about activities and recreation near the conference.
Q: I would like to attend and bring my family. Do they have to register too?
A: You are welcome to bring your family to Philadelphia, and there is plenty for spouses and children to do during the conference. Because the hotel charges our conference for every person present, every person who attends the conference must register. Registered attendees will receive badges which you will need to wear during the conference to identify you as a registered attendee. Spouses are welcome to register and attend, and many have attended our conference in the past. There will be some sessions that they may find informative. Additionally we will have a special spouse support networking meeting on Friday, June 13 in the evening. Spouses do not have to be registered to attend this free meeting.
Q: The schedule looks pretty full. Will there be time for me to connect with friends?
A: We pack the agenda with sessions to maximize the scope of information we can provide during the 2-day conference. Unless you are a health care provider attending for continuing education, you are not obligated to attend every session. We encourage attendees to skip one or two sessions to relax and connect with friends or spend time with family if you brought them. There will also be time during evenings, breaks, and lunch to connect with friends. We also encourage you to arrive a day early or stay a day longer to take in the sites, relax, and unwind.
Q: I would like to attend the conference but only for one day. Can I still attend?
A: We offer special rates for people who wish to attend one day of the conference only. You can register via our registration tool.
Q: What should I wear to the conference?
A: We suggest dressing for comfort. Most attendees wear casual attire. We also suggest bringing a sweater or jacket for the conference rooms as sometimes meeting room temperatures can fluctuate.
Q: Are meals included in the conference costs?
A: Your registration includes breakfast and lunch and breaks on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14. If you also registered for the welcome reception for Thursday night, the event includes desserts and drinks. Additionally some of our conference after-hour events include snacks and soft drinks. For more information on conference activities, visit our Conference Events page.
Q: Is there an additional charge for any of the conference events?
A: Most of the conference activities are included in the cost of registration. Our welcome dessert reception is $35 per person. For more information about other conference activities visit our Conference Events page. Check back frequently for updates on new conference events and opportunities.
Q: I have never been to a FORCE conference before. What is the best way for me to meet people and to get oriented?
A: We will be have an informal conference ice-breaker for new attendees. Join us Thursday, June 18 at 5 pm at JWs in the hotel. This free gathering will be a great introduction to the conference and a great way to make new friends.
Q: What is the Show & Tell Room” and where will it be?
A: Show & Tell Room offers women who are contemplating mastectomy or reconstruction the opportunity to meet and learn in person from women who have had these procedures and some of the surgeons who do the procedures. Our Show & Tell Room is free to all attendees. The Show & Tell room is located in the conference center in Franklin Hall B and will be open Friday, June 19, 8:00 – 10:00 PM.
Q: Is there a description of the conference sessions and a list of speakers?
A: Visit our Agenda page for a description of the individual sessions and the information covered. page to find descriptions of each session. Visit our Conference Speakers page for a list of the speakers and a link to their biography. Visit our Choosing Sessions page for a list of sessions that may be of particular interest to you based on your unique circumstances.
Q: There are so many great sessions, I cannot decide which one to choose. Can I change my mind later about which sessions I attend?
A: For planning purposes, we ask our participants to select sessions at the time of registration. Once you register, you are not locked into your session choices, and you are welcome to change your mind and attend a different session.
Q: Will the powerpoint slides or transcripts from the conference be available after the conference?
A: We ask every speaker to provide us with a copy of their presentation prior to the conference. Presentations that are received by a certain date are included in our syllabus. We do our best to include as much material as possible in the syllabus. However, speakers are not required to submit their slides.
Q: Once online registration for the conference is closed, can I still register on-site?
A: We will have on-site registration at the conference. Please try to arrive early to assure that you don’t miss any of the sessions. Registration for the conference will be open Thursday, June 12 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. You will also be able to register and check-in on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Q: How far in advance do I need to reserve my hotel room?
A: We recommend reserving your room at the conference hotel as soon as possible. Once conference block rooms have sold out, the hotel cannot guarantee the conference rate. You can view other accommodations near the conference hotel on our Travel and Lodging page.
Q: I would like to split a room with someone. How can I find a roommate?
A: There is a section on our message boards where people can post about the conference including posts about looking for a roommate. If you live in a city with a FORCE Outreach Group, you can also contact your local outreach group to see if someone in your area may be looking for a roommate.
Q: I have not had cancer. Will there be information for people like me at the conference?
A: The conference covers all aspects of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and provides information for anyone whose family has been affected by hereditary cancer including special sessions specifically for high-risk people. Approximate half of FORCE members and conference participants are high-risk individuals who have not had cancer. There are many sessions devoted to detection, screening, risk reduction, prevention, family dynamics, and quality-of-life issues that are of interest for people who have not personally had cancer.
Q. I have already had cancer. Will there be information for people like me at the conference?
A: The conference covers all aspects of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and provides information for anyone whose family has been affected by hereditary cancer including special sessions specifically for cancer survivors. Approximate half of FORCE members and conference participants are breast or ovarian cancer survivors. There are many sessions which cover treatment, information for lowering risk for a second cancer diagnosis, family dynamics, and quality-of-life issues that are of interest for people who have personally had a cancer diagnosis.
Q: I do not have a BRCA mutation but cancer runs in my family. Will there be information for people like me at the conference?
A: The conference covers all aspects of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and provides information for anyone whose family has been affected by hereditary cancer regardless of genetic testing or the presence of a BRCA mutation in the family. Many sessions will provide information of interest to anyone concerned about hereditary cancer including addressing breast and ovarian cancer risk management, family dynamics, and quality-of-life issues.
Q: I have a BRCA mutation but I’m male. Will there be information for people like me at the conference?
A: The conference covers all aspects of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and provides information for anyone, male or female whose family has been affected by hereditary cancer. There are specific sessions specifically for men who test positive for a BRCA mutation. Additionally other sessions will provide information of interest to anyone with cancer in the family including sessions addressing family dynamics, exercise, nutrition, and quality-of-life issues.
Q: I am a registered nurse. Can I receive continuing education for attending this conference?
A: The Joining FORCEs 2014 conference will not offer continuing education to nurses, however, we do offering continuing education for genetic counselors. Some nursing societies recognize continuing education credits that are approved by the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Many of the sessions have content that is appropriate for health care providers including nurses.
Q: I am a genetic counselor. Can I receive continuing education for attending this conference?
A: The Joining FORCEs Conference has been submitted to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) for approval of Category 1 CEUs continuing education credits for genetic counselors. There will be an additional cost for genetic counselors attending for continuing education credits.