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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XRAYS

June 29, 2019

Hiding in Plain Sight: LGBTQ People and Clinical Trials

by Scout, MA, PhD I’m writing this on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the time when LGBTQ persons (mostly LGBTQ gender, nonconforming persons of color) stood up and fought back against systemic discrimination from the police. This whole month I have been seeing more pride observances than ever; corporations really seem to … + read more

May 30, 2019

Alert: Cancer Genetic Testing Should Be Performed in the Health Care Setting

by Lisa Schlager and Sue Friedman There is a flood of information available about genetic tests for cancer risk in the media, and even at community events, such as health fairs and senior centers. If these promotions have caught your attention and you are considering testing, there is important information that you should know first. … + read more

May 7, 2019

Anti-vaccine Hype is a Threat to People with Cancer

Cancer treatment is challenging enough, without the added threat of a measles outbreak caused by decreased vaccinations.

March 8, 2019

XRAYS Blog – A Deep Dive into Disparities: The Challenges and Opportunities of Reaching Out to the Underserved

By Amy Wu I recently had the privilege of spending two days at a brainstorming session with a group of doctors, scientists, researchers, advocates and fellow survivors (myself included), all of us a sounding board for the California Breast Cancer Research Program. The goal was to identify and create research projects on breast cancer. One … + read more

January 22, 2019

My BRCA2 Story: Mastectomy Without Reconstruction

by Marla Ruhana In the XRAYS review, Juliet’s story: No reconstruction is a post-mastectomy option, Juliet’s experience resonated with me. My mastectomy journey began in August of 2003, when my sister called and said, “Well, I’m one of the seven percent of women who get breast cancer under the age of 40.” She said that … + read more

January 19, 2019

Breast Implants: Conflicting Views and Hyped Headlines

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Since the early 1990’s scientists have researched whether silicone gel-filled implants increase the risk of connective tissue and autoimmune diseases. A recent study published in the Annals of Surgery and two accompanying editorials highlight the challenges associated with studying this connection. At the present time, there is no conclusive scientific evidence … + read more

November 28, 2018

You Don’t Need a Family History of Cancer to Benefit from Genetic Testing

by Sue Friedman Many people mistakenly believe that genetic testing for inherited mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, Lynch Syndrome, and other genes is only appropriate for people with many cases of cancer in their family. National guidelines—based on the latest research—state otherwise. There are situations where a single case of cancer in a family is enough … + read more

November 3, 2018

XRAYS Blog: Sharsheret Webinar Helps People Make Sense of Breaking News in Breast and Ovarian Cancer

by Elaine Gottesman Sharsheret is one of the partner organization for FORCE’s XRAYS Program. Sharsheret’s webinar, “Breaking News In Breast And Ovarian Cancer And What Should I Make Of It?” recapped some of the key takeaways from the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Annual Meeting. Featuring Dr. Deanna Attai, of UCLA Health Burbank Breast … + read more

September 21, 2018

Headline Hype: Media Report on BRCA1 Variant Research Plays on Fears

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Most people who have genetic testing for BRCA1, BRCA2 or other genes associated with cancer risk receive either a positive or a negative test result. A positive genetic test result indicates that a change called a mutation was found in a gene which is associated with increased cancer risk. A negative genetic test … + read more

June 14, 2018

XRAYS Blog: Me and My MSH6 Mutation: Ever Searching for Answers

by Aya It all started with Mother’s histopathology report on her partially resected small bowel. She had small bowel cancer. With my middle name being “I-want-to-know-more,” I asked for a pathology report after a post-op consultation with her surgeon where future management was discussed.  When I read the report at home, I noticed an aspect … + read more

May 11, 2018

Battling BRCA: International Conference in Iceland on BRCA and Cancer

by Kristín Hannesdóttir and Anna Margrét Bjarnadóttir On March 10th, BRCA Iceland hosted its first international conference. Sue Friedman, Executive Director, Founder of FORCE, was the keynote speaker. In June 2017, we attended the FORCE conference in Orlando. We barely knew each other at the time, but we are both BRCA2 carriers, have lost several … + read more

March 15, 2018

Headline Hype: A Picture as Misleading as a Thousand Words

by Welcsh, PhD The FDA announced last week that it had approved the first direct-to-consumer (DTC) test for 3 mutations in BRCA genes. FORCE was concerned about consumer understanding of the limited nature of the test and released this statement in response to the FDA report. The FDA announcement and the resulting media coverage will … + read more

January 17, 2018

Headline Hype: Why You Can’t Believe Everything You Read

by Piri Welcsh, PhD Our first “Headline Hype” blog post – published just a few days ago – addresses misleading information in a Newsweek article about recently published breast cancer research in Lancet Oncology. Now, it appears the media is on a roll. We were disturbed to learn about another media story focused on the same Lancet … + read more

January 13, 2018

Headline Hype: BRCA and Risk of Dying from Cancer

by Piri Welcsh, PhD An article published yesterday in Newsweek with the incredibly misleading title “A Gene That ‘Causes Cancer’ Probably Doesn’t Increase Your Chances of Dying from Cancer” created quite a social media stir.  This media story, and the research that it reports on, will be the subject of a future XRAYS article. We … + read more

January 9, 2018

The Cultural Chasm and Challenges of Being a Young Asian American Cancer Survivor

by Amy Wu In the aftermath of my cancer diagnosis and treatment, an advocate–at times raging and impatient—unexpectedly emerged. I consider myself an introvert, in some ways fitting into the stereotypes of the model Asian American—hardworking, obedient and conservative, but the close call with what I was convinced was death at the age of 37 … + read more

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