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Advocacy

FORCE advocates for families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in areas such as access to care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.

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Current Actions

USPSTF Guidelines on Breast Cancer Screening

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. On January 12, 2016 the Task force released new Breast Cancer: Screening Recommendations. If implemented, women between the ages of 40 and 49 would likely lose access to lifesaving breast screening mammography. A bill signed into law in December 2015, however, ensures that these new guidelines will not take effect for at least two years. FORCE was a leader in efforts to curtail the proposed guidelines via the “Stop the Guidelines” campaign and support of the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act. This law places a two-year moratorium on changes to the existing breast cancer screening guidelines, maintaining free annual mammogram screenings for women aged 40 to 74 while the impact of the recent guidelines and the USPSTF recommendations process are examined more closely. Read more...

Statement Regarding New ACS Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

In October 2015, The American Cancer Society (ACS) released new breast cancer screening guidelines, raising its recommended age for beginning annual screening from 40 to 45, and endorsing biennial screenings beginning at age 55. In addition, the new recommendations suggest that physicians should forgo clinical breast exams for women of any age. FORCE opposes the new guidelines. We continue to support breast cancer screening beginning at age 40 for women with no known family history of cancer, and encourage young women to be strong self-advocates for their health. Read our official statement on the newest ACS guidelines.

Proposed Revision to Relax GINA Protections for Employer-based Wellness Programs

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed in 2008. The law prohibits insurance companies and employers from using a family history of disease or genetic test results to discriminate against people. A new law introduced into congress could weaken GINA and allow employers to require employees to provide genetic information in order to participate in company-sponsored wellness programs. Read our letter to the House Committee on Education and Workforce, and our blog on this important issue.

Medicare Expansion of Genetic Services Coverage in Some Regions

Four Medicare Area Contractors (MACs) proposed Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) that better align their services with National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines in a number of areas such as expanding coverage of genetic testing for individuals who have or had cancer consistent with hereditary cancer syndromes, including men and those who are affected by prostate and pancreatic cancer; coverage of multigene testing panels if more than one mutation may be indicated; and clarification of the BRCA testing policy for use of the targeted therapy, Lynparza. Read more…

Survivors Included in Clarification of USPSTF BRCA Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, and Genetic Testing Guidelines

Guidelines published by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in December 2013 are used to determine which patients are eligible for BRCA genetic counseling and testing with no cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The USPSTF “BRCA-Related Cancer: Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, and Genetic Testing” recommendations were initially interpreted to apply only to women who have not been diagnosed with cancer, with a family cancer history consistent with the USPSTF criteria. In May 2015, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), issued a clarification indicating that these guidelines ALSO apply to women who have been diagnosed with “breast, ovarian, or other cancers.” Learn more…

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