FORCE advocates for families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in areas such as access to care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.
In 2014, Dr. Mary-Claire King, whose research led to the discovery of the BRCA1 gene associated with hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer, proposed that genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations become routine for all U.S. women over age 30. Among other things, King cited an Israeli study which revealed that Ashkenazi Jewish women with no family history of cancer—but who tested positive for a BRCA genetic mutation—have high rates of breast and ovarian cancer.
Demonstration studies in the Ashkenazi Jewish population have shown that screening for the three BRCA founder mutations may be cost-effective and identifies carriers who would not have been suspected on the basis of their family cancer history. However, applying this to the broader, more diverse U.S. population may not yield the same results.
FORCE continues to consult with its scientific advisory board and other experts to evaluate these proposed changes and their implications on health care practice.