- Women's Health
Support National HBOC Week and National Previvor Day
Last year, FORCE’s (Facing our Risk Cancer Empowered) efforts were recognized when a Congressional resolution was passed declaring National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer(HBOC) Week be officially observed during the last week of September and National Previvor Day celebrated the last Wednesday in September. This year HBOC Week takes place from September 25 - October 2 and links the transition between September, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. National Previvor Day shines the light on individuals who carry a genetic predisposition to cancer and this year takes place on September 28th. Way to go, FORCE!
As a previvor, these two important events represent a time of gratitude for me for the help that I was given and also a time for me to give back.
I found out that I was BRCA 1 positive after my father tested positive for the mutation. It was both a shock and surprise to me. My father had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I wondered why he was tested for the BRCA gene. My aunt had had breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA gene and this meant that my father was at risk. Before I learned of my father’s results, I didn’t know anything about the BRCA gene or that men could carry this genetic mutation. When I learned of my results, I didn’t know who to turn to for support.
Learning of FORCE was truly a blessing for me. FORCE is a national nonprofit that helps to support, educate, raise awareness and conduct research about HBOC. FORCE helped to improve my life after discovering that I tested positive for BRCA. My attendance at their national conference instilled in me a tremendous amount of knowledge about BRCA and left me feeling not a victim but an empowered woman. Both at the national conference and the local chapter meetings, I made lifelong friends who provide a network of support to me.
Having these two events recognized helps others like me, who may not have support or know about the BRCA mutation. There are an estimated three-quarters of a million Americans who carry an inherited BRCA mutation. An even more frightening statistic, 90% of these individuals aren't aware of their risk. HBOC Week and National Previvor Day help to raise awareness about hereditary breast or ovarian cancer and will help others like me get educated; learn of organizations that provide support, like FORCE and how they too can become advocates.
As a previvor, I now plan to give back during National HBOC week and National Previvor day. I am having my mastectomy on September 21, so I won’t be able to help physically, but I plan to continue my blog to spread the word about HBOC and share my story. There are many ways you can help to recognize and celebrate these two events. Make a donation to FORCE. If you can’t make a donation, find out if there is a local chapter in your area that you can get involved with. Visit the FORCE website for other great ideas at http://www.facingourrisk.org/events/special_event.php.
- National nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer - FORCE - Facing Our
A nonprofit organization for women whose family history and genetic status puts them at high risk for ovarian cancer and/or breast cancer, and for families in which a BRCA mutation may be present.