Joining FORCES is the FORCE newsletter with news, views and supportive information for individuals concerned about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
by Sue Friedman
Presented at the 2006 Joining FORCEs Conference by Sue Friedman, DVM, Executive Director of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.
Advocacy by definition means, “To plead or argue in favor of a cause.” To me, advocacy means making a difference. I outlined how people can get involved in advocacy: they can submit their personal stories to the media, help agencies decide which research projects to fund, volunteer for the FORCE Helpline, distribute educational brochures, and encourage elected officials to pass laws that benefit our community (for example, laws to prohibit genetic discrimination).
I emphasized that some advocacy groups believe our high-risk community is too small and insignificant to matter, and that too much money goes to hereditary cancer research. However, for so many reasons—because high-risk women tend to develop cancer at a younger age, because we are more likely to be diagnosed with multiple cancers, because our families carry more than an average risk for cancer and we can pass that risk onto our children—I expressed my belief that our community shoulders a disproportionate and unfair cancer burden. We are all stakeholders. It is up to us to advocate for more resources and research on hereditary cancer.
To learn more about advocacy at FORCE, visit our “Advocacy” section.