Joining FORCEs Newsletter

Joining FORCES is the FORCE newsletter with news, views and supportive information for individuals concerned about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Hereditary Cancer Info > FORCE Publications > Newsletter > Archives > A Collaboration to Improve the Continuum of Care

A Collaboration to Improve the Continuum of Care

by Sue Friedman

A frequent theme at FORCE meetings, conferences, and on our message boards is concern about what health care professional should follow high-risk women over the course of their lives. Little is known about the long-term health issues faced by members of our community, many of whom have undergone mastectomy, BSO, menopause, and in some cases, chemotherapy and radiation at a young age. In addition to an excessively high cancer risk, research suggests that our population may also face issues of fertility and cardiac health. Many FORCE members are frustrated when they are directed to their primary care providers for follow-up care after surgery or treatment, because few primary physicians have the experience or expertise to manage the specific concerns of mutation carriers.

FORCE is happy to be collaborating with Celebration Health to better understand and address these issues. The Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, located at Celebration Health, is recognized internationally for advanced robotic surgical training, while the Center for Hereditary and Genetic Syndromes offers patients a "circle of care" that is essential to long-term health and survival. The team's holistic approach to wellness combines experts from many specialties, including breast, gynecologic, reconstruction surgery, medical oncology, and internal medicine. Women who have undergone surgical menopause, chemotherapy, or radiation benefit from a patient care program that addresses long-term cardiac, bone, and overall health care, and other issues that many health care providers don't address, including metabolism, fitness, weight, sexuality, and emotional health.

Our collaboration will include the first survey to assess the long-term follow-up health behaviors, concerns, and needs of women who have hereditary cancer risk. A series of in-depth focus groups and support groups will help us further identify gaps in care as we begin to shape the vision of comprehensive long-term care that will help us live our best lives.

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