SOUTH PORTLAND — Adults in southern Maine who are affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers have a new opportunity to meet with others facing similar challenges. The local chapter of FORCE is hosting quarterly meetings in collaboration with the Cancer Community Center, 778 Main St. The first FORCE Community Meeting in southern Maine will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.

FORCE meetings offer a chance to learn from other people who are navigating the hereditary cancer path to help others by sharing stories, as well as gain information from presentations by specialists.

FORCE, which stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, is a national organization whose mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers, such as families with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. FORCE members include those with a personal history of cancer, as well as those who are at increased risk to develop cancer.

Meetings will be facilitated by local genetic counselors Jessica Cary and Katherine Lafferty.

Cary graduated from Brandeis University with an Master of Science in genetic counseling. She is board certified in both nursing and genetic counseling, specializing in hereditary cancers. She has worked as a prenatal, pediatric and lab-based genetic counselor at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Genzyme Genetics. Cary joined New England Cancer Specialists in 2010 and is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Lafferty has an Master of Science in genetic counseling from Boston University School of Medicine. Lafferty works as a cancer genetic counselor at the Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic at Maine Medical Center, joining the team in 2014. Prior to that, she has worked as a laboratory and clinical genetic counselor at the Partners Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine and Boston Children’s Hospital. She is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the New England Regional Genetics Group.

To learn more, contact the Cancer Community Center at 774-2200 or visit

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