Date: August 4th, 2015
One in three U.S. women will get cancer in her lifetime. Beverlye Hyman Fead was one of those women. One in 25 people living in the U.S. is a cancer survivor. Beverlye is also a survivor.
In fact you can look at Beverlye’s cancer journey and identify stats that create a scrapbook of sorts that details her path from her diagnosis to today. Of course, Beverlye isn’t just a statistic; she has personal story to tell. But more on that a bit later.
Statistics have a profound way of describing the impact of a disease like cancer. They show how it can affect individuals and families, both in terms of health and finances. But they can also show the positives: how advances in research are leading to higher survival rates and hopes for a cure.
For close to a decade, the Alliance for Aging Research has offered the Silver Book® series and website as an almanac of thousands of facts, statistics, graphs, and data from hundreds of agencies, organizations, and experts on chronic diseases that disproportionately affect older Americans. The series volumes and website offer stats on both the impact of these diseases and how research helps to improve health.
This month the Alliance launched a newly redesigned Silver Book® website, with a user-friendly layout and updated statistics. Here you can also find a new volume and factsheet focused on cancer.
The Silver Book:® Cancer volume debuted at a Capitol Hill briefing on May 21 in Washington, D.C. Through a collection of exhaustive statistics, facts, and infographics, The Silver Book®: Cancer offers an overview of the tremendous burden of this disease and how innovations in medical research, such as personalized medicine and immuno-oncology, can reduce that burden.
And that is what takes us back to Beverlye. She is a noted author, filmmaker, and speaker, who is passionate about sharing her experience with cancer. The Alliance invited her to the briefing to tell her story and to give a personal side to the disease.
In 2002, when she was 68, Beverlye was diagnosed with metastasized Stage IV Uterine Stromal Sarcoma and given two months to live. She was among the 78 percent of those 55 and over who account for all cancer cases.
Many of us might have accepted our fate, but not Beverlye. She was determined to find a treatment that would best work for her condition. It was through a series of visits with doctors that she found a unique treatment that offered her hope for survival.
According to Beverlye, her doctor suggested trying an experimental treatment that combined Lupron, a prostate cancer drug, and Femara, which is used to treat breast cancer. Thirteen years later she is telling others her story of hope. A personalized approach to medicine resulted in a miracle, and she is now among the 12 million cancer survivors in the U.S.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was on the cutting edge of personalized medicine,” she said. “I was so lucky to have two docs who thought outside of the box and gave me something new.”
That makes Beverlye part of another important group: those whose lives have benefited from research. Because of research and innovation, an amazing 83 percent of gains in life expectancy for cancer patients have been attributable to new treatments since 1980.
Now she’s determined to share her story with as many people as possible, particularly those in her peer group.
“This is my passion and not only for cancer and cancer patients,” said Beverlye, “As I am an aging person myself, I like to go talk to aging people and tell them to be proactive in their aging. Having stage four cancer has taught me how to deal with the aging process. You can’t just lie back and age. Our parents sat on the couch and smoked a cigarette at age 60. We know better. If we listen to our doctors and become co-captains with our doctors, we can live vital, strong lives through our 80s and into our 90s.”
Want to hear more of her story? Watch it below: