Pretty Is What Changes author Jessica Queller to speak at FORCE Conference May 16-17

April 23, 2008

Expected to be the Largest Gathering of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors and Pre-vivors™

Tampa, FL– Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida will hold their 3rd annual conference devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer May 16-17 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa. This meeting will represent the largest gathering of people with the BRCA “breast cancer gene” mutation or other risk factors for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. More than 350 people are expected to attend. The conference will be a gathering of experts, dedicated researchers and health care providers, cancer survivors and high-risk people with a common interest of hereditary cancer.                                                   

Highlights from the conference will include keynote speaker Jessica Queller, pre-vivor™ and author of the newly released book Pretty Is What Changes. In Queller’s book she talks about her mother’s death from cancer and her decision to get tested for the BRCA mutation. With an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer Queller decided at age 35, unattached and childless, to have a double mastectomy to decrease her changes of getting the disease. Queller has written for numerous television shows including Gilmore Girls, Felicity and One Tree Hill. She currently writes for Gossip Girl and lives in New York and Los Angeles. 

Other authors attending include Diane Tropea Greene, author of Apron Strings: Inheriting Courage, Wisdom and…Breast Cancer; Kathy Steligo, author of The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook and Christine Clifford, humorist and author of Cancer Has Its Privileges: Stories of Hope & Laughter. Filmmaker Joanna Rudnick of Kartemquin Films will screen the long-awaited documentary In the Family which will be broadcast nationally later in the year.

“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with the Moffitt Cancer Center,” said Sue Friedman, FORCE founder and executive director. “Once again we have organized a conference that will address the key issues for any family facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and any health care provider serving the hereditary cancer community.” 

Thomas Sellers, Ph.D., Moffitt’s associate center director of Cancer Prevention and Control, will provide an introduction to personalized medicine followed by Moffitt researcher and geneticist Dr. Rebecca Sutphen who will talk about the latest research on personalized medicine as it relates to hereditary cancer. Dr. Steven Narod will give a presentation on response to chemotherapy in BRCA carriers. National Cancer Institute researcher Dr. Elise Kohn will give an update on PARP inhibitors, targeted therapy for BRCA-related cancers. Experts will present the latest information about breast and ovarian cancer detection and risk reduction, and address quality-of-life issues for BRCA carriers. To register for the Joining FORCEs Conference visit the conference Web page at facingourrisk.org/conference.

About FORCE

FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  The FORCE community includes survivors of these cancers and women at high risk due to a genetic mutation or family history. FORCE promotes information, education and awareness through its events, programs and website (www.facingourrisk.org). The term pre-vivor™ is a registered trademark created by FORCE. Listed as one of Time magazine’s “Top 10 Buzzwords of 2007,” pre-vivor describes a person who does not have cancer but has a genetic mutation or other hereditary predisposition which increases the risk of developing cancer. The term highlights these individuals’ unique set of emotional, medical, and privacy concerns.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center (www.moffitt.org) is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer as well as for ear, nose and throat. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.

About the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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