Friday, January 27, 2012

Fridays for FORCE: Book release!

Every week, a book is released that really helps the public. Not so often, a book is released that helps a segment of the public that has too few well-researched and apropos to their own experiences. One such book is being released this February 9th, 2012. Co-authored by Sue Friedman, DVM and Executive Director of FORCE and Rebecca Sutphen, MD and Kathy Steligo, this book delves into hereditary cancer and being to identify and understand your individual risk.

Cover of the New Book

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny

By Sue Friedman, D.V.M., Rebecca Sutphen, M.D., and Kathy Steligo
If you are concerned that the cancer in your family is hereditary, you face difficult choices. 
  • Should you have a blood test that may reveal whether you have a high likelihood of disease? 
  • Do you preemptively treat a disease that may never develop? 
  • How do you make decisions now that will affect the rest of your life? 
Confronting hereditary cancer is a complex, confusing, and highly individual journey.  With its unique combination of the latest research and expert advice about genetic counseling and testing, preventative surgery, fertility and family planning, and health insurance coverage information, as well as compelling personal stories, this book gives previvors, survivors, and their family members the guidance they need to face the unique challenges of hereditary cancer.

Sue Friedman
I am looking forward to reading this book and seeing where to go next in my journey of being BRCA2 positive. So far, I got past high surveillance, moved into an Oopherectomy (removal of ovaries) and graduated to a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy (PBM). With each step, I reduced my risk of more than 90% to less than 2% for ovarian cancer and less than 4% for breast cancer. I need to adjust to my new life everyday. Having had the PBM, I found out I had DCIS stage 0 and removing my breasts was the thing I would have done anyway with that diagnosis. Cancer-free is where I stand today and "Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer" will take me beyond that level.

I just pre-ordered the digital version for my Nook. It is available to pre-order as a hardback for $29.66 on or the Nookbook at $9.99. Go to

I know this book will be informational and empowering to all of us who are part of the BRCA Community. As always, you can find more information, support and unconditional friendship at There is also a Facebook page for FORCE ,, visit and click LIKE when you are on the Internet.

Love and hugs,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fridays for FORCE: 13 Ways of Community Service

Executive Director, Sue Friedman, posted this on the Thoughts from FORCE in her first blog of the year!

Thirteen Ways FORCE will Serve Our Community in 2012

On New Year’s Day we celebrated FORCE’s 13th birthday! Over the course of this year, we will highlight the significance of this milestone with blogs that emphasize the theme of “13.”

As my first blog of the new year, I am excited to share 13 things that FORCE will do to serve the hereditary cancer community in 2012.
Book Cover
  1. Our new book, Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny is a Johns Hopkins Press Health Book that is available for preorder and preview on Amazon. The book will be widely available in February.
  2. This month we are launching our inaugural FORCE Research Advocate Training (FRAT) Program that will train members of our community to become engaged in research review and safety panels. Training topics include cancer 101, basic genetics, introduction to clinical trials and research, patient protection, ethics, and more.  Space is limited; however, there is still time to apply for participation. Contact Lisa Schlager ( to apply for this program.
  3. Save the date for our Joining FORCEs conference: the largest annual gathering by and for the hereditary cancer community. Our 2012 conference will be held October 18-20, 2012 in Orlando.
  4. Our free Be Empowered” webinars feature presentations by experts on topics of importance to our community. Our next two webinars will be on breast surveillance and updates from the IMPACT Study for men with mutations. Please check back soon for the dates and registration information.
  5. More than 50 outreach groups in the United States offer peer support, information, and resources. FORCE also has international groups. Our outreach coordinators act as a point of contact and offer face-to-face support meetings for our members.
  6. Our toll-free helpline provides peer support and resources for people who are concerned about hereditary cancer. We recently also launched our helpline for Spanish‐speaking callers.
  7. Our Patient Experience Contact Tool is a searchable database of surgeons who have provided services to community members, who can connect one-to-one and share information about their experiences. If you have had surgery to treat or prevent breast or ovarian cancer, please consider entering your information.  If you are facing surgery, this tool can help you get feedback and referrals for surgeons in your area.
  8. Our Genetic Mutation Database is searchable by mutation and ethnicity and helps connect people who have the same mutation.
  9. FORCE will honor hereditary cancer previvors and survivors and recognize the challenges they face during National HBOC Week (the last week of September) and National Previvor Day (the Wednesday of the same week). FORCE made history in 2010 with its successful effort to pass a Congressional resolution officially acknowledging these significant days.
  10. Our Post Mastectomy Photo Gallery shares images of women after mastectomy and reconstruction. Coming this Spring, we are updating the gallery to allow women to post their own postsurgical photos.
  11. Show & Tell: The Book will be a new resource with photos of women after mastectomy with and without reconstruction. Available in the Fall, this resource will feature the models’ personal comments about their experiences, information about their surgeries, and references to relevant chapters in The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook by Kathy Steligo.
  12. We will continue to advocate strongly for hereditary cancer research. For example, it has now been seven years since we introduced our community to PARP inhibitors as targeted cancer therapy for people with BRCA mutations. (Although initial studies have been promising, due to many challenges the research has not yet progressed to trials to seek FDA approval.) Check our advocacy pages in the coming months for updates.
  13. We will continue our efforts to endow our Hereditary Cancer Research Fundto make a difference and improve prevention, screening, and treatment options for people with hereditary cancer through research. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide input as we assess our community’s research priorities.