Beathard's Stage 4 Cancer Battle
- Father of five Zane Beathard was 39 when he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach and esophageal cancer.
- He’s a deputy sheriff in Ohio and has been treating his cancer with chemo and immunotherapy.
- Supporting a loved one through cancer means helping them process their emotions around the diagnosis.
The deputy sheriff, Zane Beathard, was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the stomach and esophagus, and his local community has rallied around him to provide support. Beathard is undergoing chemo bi-weekly, and getting immunotherapy every six weeks.
“A lot to live for.” Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Zane Beathard is a husband and father to five plus one on the way. He’s fighting stomach and esophageal cancer, stage 4. The community he’s called home his entire life is supporting him in his fight. The story 5:45p #10TV pic.twitter.com/slGziX9JNpRead More— Lindsey Mills (@LindseyMills7) January 18, 2022
Beathard was 39 at the time of his diagnosis, and for the last 6 months he’s been in treatment at the hospital, reports WBNS. His wife, Alicia, tells the news station, reflecting on his illness, “When you get married they say in sickness and in health. And that came a whole lot sooner for us than we ever imagined.”
The stage four diagnosis came as a shock to the pair. Alicia is taking the time to document her husband’s cancer journey. And support is pouring in, too. Madison County Sheriff’s Office, where Beathard works, set up a fundraiser for him and his family. “We’re very, very, very grateful and we constantly say never did we imagine that at our age and where we are in our chapter of life right now with having our children and another one did we think that this would be where we are,” says Alicia.
Beathard says he wants to be there to watch his soon-to-be six children grow up, so he’s going to keep fighting. “You know my kids are young and I don’t want to be like ‘who’s that guy on the wall?'” I want to be involved with them and watch them grow up,” he says. “I’ll do whatever I can to get through it.”
Understanding Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is more common among men than women. The risk of esophageal cancer for men in the U.S. is 1 in 125, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). This year there will be approximately 20,640 new esophageal cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S.
This cancer makes up only 1% of cancers diagnosed in the U.S., and it’s more common in other parts of the world, such as China and India. Survival rates for esophageal cancer have improved over the years as treatments for the disease have improved.
Some people confuse esophageal cancer and throat cancer. The ACS reports that the cause of most esophageal cancers is unknown (though some risk factors, like tobacco use, can increase the likelihood of getting this cancer). Whereas human papillomavirus (HPV) is a known cause of throat cancer.
Supporting a Family Member Through Cancer
People like Zane Beathard can feel a wide range of emotions when confronted with a cancer diagnosis. Many may feel depressed, anxious, worried, overwhelmed, and even full of grief. Support your loved one as best you can by being a loving, listening ear and lending support.
Dr. Scott Irwin, director of supportive care service at Cedars-Sinai, explains in an earlier interview the grief that may accompany a cancer diagnosis. “Grief comes in waves,” he says. “It often gets better over time, but at certain days, it can look like depression. And other days, people look perfectly normal and can function.”
“They’re grieving the change in their life, the future they had imagined is now different,” says Dr. Irwin, of how a person may feel after getting a cancer diagnosis. “In cancer care, sometimes, we’re actually forcing some body changes that are beyond what would be normal aging, and that can be even harder for people to deal with where they don’t feel like themselves.”