Cancer survivor Jeff Ber on the Importance of Research Studies for Cancer Patients

In 2020, roughly 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Of those, it is estimated that roughly one-third of all diagnosed cancer patients will die as a result. As a testicular cancer survivor, Jeff Ber is a major advocate and voice for cancer research studies.

Cancer research development is essential to improving lives now and for future generations, yet federal funding in support of biomedical and cancer research is stagnant, putting future breakthroughs for patients at risk. Joining Oneball—a charitable cancer organization—as their Vice President, Jeff Ber has become a champion for research studies for cancer patients, in hopes of inching closer to a cure and improving patients’ quality of life. He takes the time to discuss the importance of ongoing cancer research and highlights the tremendous strides made so far in developing treatment methods.

What Research is Teaching Us

Jeff Ber explains that research is one of our best defenses against cancer. Cancer research has led to remarkable progress in the understanding of events that initiate cancer at a molecular, cellular, and tissue level. Decades of research have identified that there are a number of basic biological principles that underpin cancer initiation, growth, and spread and researchers have focused on understanding the differences between normal, healthy cells and cancer cells. Jeff Ber explains that the more we are able to learn about cancer cells, the more we can start to understand why some treatments work and other treatments do not.

The Scientific Community Continues to Make Revolutionary Progress

Significant advances in laboratory techniques have enabled scientists to draw various conclusions over the last several decades. One characteristic researchers have found to be inherent to cancer cells is their ability to multiply rapidly. With the potential to spread to nearby tissue, cancer cells can move their way into other parts of the human body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed, entering the bloodstream or lymphatic system. 

Researchers have also discovered that persistent inflammation has been known to foster cancer cell survival, proliferation, local invasion, and metastasis. Through research, we have learned a great deal about the unifying principles that underpin cancer but translating this knowledge into a cure remains challenging—but translational research can help put theory into practice.

Translational research or translational medicine is the process of applying the knowledge obtained from clinical trials to create new therapies and diagnostic techniques. Theories are then generated from experiments using cancer cells, to be validated in real human cancers using patient data or tumor samples—that is where clinical trials come in.

Research Helps Improve Quality of Life

While clinical research has been shown to provide better treatments for cancer patients, fewer than 1 in 20 adult cancer patients will enroll in cancer clinical trials. Barriers to trial participation are structural, clinical, and attitudinal, and differ according to demographic and socioeconomic factors. However, clinical trials can help researchers find new ways to prevent and detect cancer and help improve the quality of life for patients during and after treatment.

Clinical research is a major force in the advancement of treatments for different types of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, clinical research studies are crucial for physicians to find new ways to improve cancer treatments. Jeff Ber explains that one of the primary benefits of clinical trials is that cancer patients are able to gain access to new treatments much faster, which could be the difference between life and death for many individuals.

Being Diagnosed with Testicular Cancer

As an experienced entrepreneur and business management professional, Jeff Ber explains that being diagnosed with testicular cancer came as a shock, and he never imagined that it would end up changing his life forever. Fueled by the same determination that helped him build his career, Jeff was determined to defy the odds and defeat cancer. We are happy to share that Jeff Ber is now cancer-free, but as he explains, the experience marked him and impacted his future trajectory. Jeff Ber is now using his story, experience, and platform to impact and change the lives of others going through a similar situation.

Helping Improve the Lives of Others

Jeff Ber joined the Oneball team as Vice President of Operations as a way to use his expertise to give back. Oneball prides itself on being an unconventional testicular cancer charity that vows to break down the barriers of stigma surrounding men’s health. The mission and values of Oneball are uniquely conversational, taking an approach that fuels positivity through personality; this approach aims to remind patients that a diagnosis does not have to change who you are. Nicknamed “the backbone of Oneball” by his brothers and sisters on the Executive Team, Jeff Ber is prepared to go to battle for patients diagnosed with testicular cancer and is incredibly proud to be a part of this incredible organization.

Saving Lives and the Future of Cancer Research

Without research, scientists and doctors cannot find new preventions, treatments, and cures for cancer. Cancer is a complex, ever-changing disease, and discovery research helps scientists uncover new ways to beat cancer. With over 200 forms of cancer that affect 1 in 2 individuals, research is crucial. Jeff Ber encourages everyone to learn more about their local cancer research organizations, and consider volunteering, sharing their work, or donating wherever they can to ensure a brighter future for us all. While everyone may not have the additional time or resources available to support the cause, helping the spread the word could also save someone’s life.