Don’t call ovarian cancer “the silent
killer” around Nancy Hines, CRS, GRI.
She’s on a mission to stamp out that
notion. The disease wasn’t so silent
in her case—nor was it for the other
women with whom she became friends
during their cancer treatments almost
20 years ago. Since then, Hines has
focused on educating people about the
potential warning signs.
“Pam Faerber and I had eight-and-a-half hours of
chemo together every three weeks, and we’d talk,”
says Hines, who lives and works near Indianapolis.
“We discovered that we were diagnosed in the same
stage of cancer [stage one, rarely diagnosed and of-
fering the best prospects for survival], and ...”—Hines
pauses here for e;ect—“we both had symptoms.”
The more patients Hines and Faerber talked to,
including Kai Binford, who was also diagnosed in the
early stages, the more stories they heard about simi-
lar symptoms, which may include bloating, abdominal
pain, or urinary problems. They began to think there
could, indeed, be early warning signs for ovarian can-
cer if a woman and her doctor knew what to look for.
It was a eureka moment for the women. Perhaps early-stage ovarian cancer had brought them
together for a reason. “We were all going to be fine, so
we could do something to right this wrong idea that
ovarian cancer has no symptoms,” says Hines.
Birth of a Mission
So began Hines’ 19 years of work as cofounder (with
Faerber and Binford) of Ovar’coming Together, a
volunteer organization powered primarily by ovarian
cancer survivors seeking to raise awareness about
this cancer and its symptoms, provide peer sup-
port to women and their caregivers, and help fund
research into an early detection test and a cure. The
survival rate for ovarian cancer is 92 percent if it’s
caught early, but that occurs in only about 15 percent
of cases, because early symptoms resemble those of
many other ailments, says Hines. When discovered in
its later stages, ovarian cancer’s survival rate drops
to 45 percent, according to the American Cancer
Society. Just two years after launching Ovar’coming
Together in the Indianapolis area, the three friends
helped cofound the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance,
to help give the cause a national presence.
In 2007, through the collaborative e;orts of OCNA
and several of its state-based partner organizations
like Ovar’coming Together, the American Cancer
Society released the first-ever consensus statement
regarding the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Those
symptoms can also include pelvic pain, di;culty eating or feeling full quickly, and frequent urination.
Supporting others in crisis is where Hines really
shines, says Faerber. “She has a special talent for
working with women and their families who are in
the overwhelming, often painful early days of a cancer diagnosis,” she adds.
Robin Jackson, Ovar’coming Together’s executive
director, agrees. “Nancy gives newly diagnosed wom-
en and their families friendship and hope.”
“Nancy makes you want to up your game for the
cause,” says Robert Whiteside III, the group’s former
board president, who credits Hines with helping him
“heal, give back, and help others” after his wife died at
age 25 from ovarian cancer.
For Hines, it’s also matter of gratitude. “I’ve been
given so much. And where much is given, much is
expected. I really believe we are called to give back
in some way for the blessings we’ve received,” says
Hines. “For me, every day is a gift.”
BY PAMELA GEURDS KABATI
They Shall Ovar’come
survivor Nancy Hines
wants women to
recognize the early
symptoms of ovarian
cancer. It’s a matter
of life and death.
NANCY HINES AVON, INDIANA | F.C. TUCKER CO. INC.
Contact Hines at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at ovariancancerin.org.