Kentucky now has the unfortunate distinction of being first among all 50
states in overall cancer mortality and cancer incidence (covering all
cancer sites). Our cancer problem is distinct and prevalent, which
underscores Markey's mission to reduce the cancer mortality in our
region. Fortunately, our colleagues here are doing their part to make a
difference in the lives of our patients, and many of them are going
above and beyond by becoming more directly involved in communities and
organizations that fight the cancer battle alongside Markey every day.
Read more »
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2014) – Coldstream Park will host the city's fourth annual Free to Breathe fundraiser this Saturday, Nov 1. The inspirational event will feature a 5k run/walk and a 1-mile walk for all fitness levels, with awards for top fundraisers and finishers.
All proceeds from the event support Free to Breathe, a nonprofit lung cancer research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring surviving lung cancer is the expectation, not the exception.
Kentucky leads the nation in both new incidences of lung cancer and deaths from the disease. Though tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer, anyone can develop the disease regardless of his or her smoking status. Lung cancer kills nearly twice as many women as breast cancer, and it is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the U.S. Despite this, lung cancer receives proportionately less government funding per death than other types of cancer.
Free to Breathe aims to rally Kentuckians to create change and help defeat lung cancer. Supporters and participants are creating communities of hope by raising awareness of the disease and funds which can fuel advances in detection and treatment and ultimately save lives.
Registration for the event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the opening rally at 9:40 a.m. The cost to register that day is $30. Registrants can choose to participant in one of three events:
· 5K Run, beginning at 10 a.m.
· 5K walk, beginning at 10:05 a.m.
· 1-mile walk, beginning at 10:10 a.m.
For more information on Free to Breathe, visit www.freetobreathe.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2014) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has
signed a memorandum of cooperation to collaboratively study lung cancer with the Nanjing
Medical University in the Jiangsu Province, China.
Earlier this month, Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center, and Daret St. Clair, associate director for basic research, visited Nanjing Medical University to sign the memorandum with Nanjing Medical University Chancellor Shen Hongbin agreeing to collaborate on future projects in cancer research.
The initial contact between the two institutions developed with the exchange of researchers and clinicians between St. Clair’s laboratory and Nanjing Medical University Affiliate Hospital, the first Nanjing Hospital. Markey's strength in basic research was a collaborative match with Nanjing Medical University investigators who have specific expertise in the genetic and epigenetic analyses of lung cancers.
Kentucky has the highest mortality rate of lung cancer in the U.S., but lung cancer is also a common disease in China.
“Cancer is a global problem,” Evers said. “This partnership with Nanjing Medical University will establish collaborative ties with their talented investigators as we work together to fight cancers that have a high incidence in both Kentucky and China.”
In addition, there may be opportunities to share clinical trial expertise between the two institutions.
“This is an excellent example of how the Markey Cancer Center continues to expand its network and reach, not only regionally but globally as well,” Evers said.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2014) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner Jennifer Bradley will be the featured guest on SiriusXM Family Talk Channel 131's "Aches and Gains" with Dr. Paul Christo the next two Saturdays.
Originally scheduled for just one show, Bradley's interview was expanded to two. The first airs Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5 p.m., with the second installment airing Saturday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. Podcasts are accessible after the show at www.paulchristo.com.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. Bradley, a licensed practitioner, originally began offering free JSJ sessions to patients as a Markey volunteer in 2009. In 2010, she received a $49,000 initial grant from the Lexington Cancer Foundation to provide the touch therapy to cancer patients full-time. Since then, Bradley has offered up to five free sessions to Markey patients at no charge.
JSJ is considered part of an integrative treatment plan at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Patients may self-refer, though many patients currently seen are referred by their physician or Markey staff.
During a session, patients receive light touches on 52 specific energetic points called Safety Energy Locks as well as fingers, toes, and midpoints on the upper arm, upper calf and lower leg in predetermined orders known as "flows." Patients remained clothed except for shoes and all hand placements are done over clothing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2014) – In 1994, University of Kentucky alumna Cathy Bell was diagnosed with breast cancer – for the first time.
Because she had a family history of the disease (her grandmother fought breast cancer), she began having mammograms at an earlier age than most. And during her baseline mammogram at age 39, her doctors discovered an unusual pattern of calcifications, and ultimately, a malignancy.
Treatment quickly followed – a lumpectomy (a breast-conserving surgery) and radiation. Bell, then a busy elementary school principal, says she was mainly concerned about getting back to work.
"I had a school to run and needed to get past that 'bump in the road' and return to my duties," she said.
Ultimately, Bell only missed four days of school. She headed back to work as soon as she could, fitting in an hour of daily radiation into her schedule. When her treatment was completed, she thought she was done.
"I thought I had moved past it," she said.
Local recurrence, or the return of a cancer to its original location, is a relatively uncommon circumstance. Most of the time, a local recurrence will happen within the first five years following diagnosis.
However, in a few instances, a local recurrence can happen many years down the road. In Bell's case, she was nearly two decades cancer-free before receiving that sobering diagnosis for a second time.
In 2013, she noticed an unusual pain under her arm. Though she'd had a regular mammogram only six months earlier, she went back to her doctor for another. The results showed a similar pattern of unusual calcifications in the same breast – her cancer had returned.
Now retired, Bell says she spent a great deal of time researching treatment for breast cancer, and her investigations led her to University of Markey Cancer Center breast surgical oncologist Dr. Patrick McGrath. Because she'd undergone radiation therapy previously, Bell could not use that treatment again, which is commonly paired with a lumpectomy.
Instead, she opted for a bilateral mastectomy with delayed reconstructive surgery. Additionally, she underwent genetic counseling at Markey to determine if she carried the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation – a test she did on behalf her sisters, who are now considered "high risk" due to having two close family members with breast cancer. Luckily, Bell's results were negative.
Bell, an avid writer, says she turned to poetry to help work through her emotions after her second diagnosis. Shortly before her surgery, she composed a piece titled "This One is About Me." The poem, written in a catchy cadence with humor sprinkled throughout, served another purpose – to give her friends and family information on her health straight from the source and help them understand what she was going through.
"I turned to creativity to deal with my issues," she said. "That's how I dealt with all that information."
Shortly after she wrote her poem, Bell received a letter from the UK Markey Cancer Center inviting her to participate in the center's inaugural "Expressions of Courage" event, a creative exhibit showcasing original artistic expressions created by cancer patients, friends and family. Bell immediately knew she wanted to participate.
"I thought, wow, I already have this done!" she said.
Contributing to Expressions of Courage was just one way Bell has given back. She notes that she "loves UK" and supports the Markey Cancer Foundation and other cancer research organizations when she can. And having gone through the difficulties of dealing with breast cancer not once, but twice, she says her role now is to help others deal with their own diagnoses and to help in any way she can, noting that sometimes that just means lending an ear. She is frequently called up by friends or family members affected by breast cancer, who are seeking help and understanding for themselves or on behalf of a loved one.
"This is just the way it's supposed to be," Bell said. "I feel like I'm here to help other people… Famous people may write a book or talk publicly, but that's not my style. I'm a good listener when I need to be."
Earlier this year, Bell was dealt another small setback when she was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in her lip. After undergoing Mohs surgery, the former UK cheerleader was back to living her life yet again, staying busy in retirement – and remaining eternally optimistic.
"It's just what I've been dealt," she says. "I love life and I want to keep living it!"
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) – Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation, but Methodist Hospital in Western Kentucky is stepping up the fight against cancer. The Methodist Hospital organization in Henderson, Ky., has announced a new affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
Methodist Hospital CEO Bruce Begley said the announcement meant great things for their patients.
“The Methodist Hospital affiliation with the UK Markey Cancer Center brings to this region nationally ranked cancer treatment close to home," Begley said. "We believe this is a big step in the continuing battle against cancer, and I appreciate UK HealthCare's overall mission of extending high-quality cancer care to all Kentuckians.”
"We are extremely excited and proud for our cancer care program to become an affiliate of the Markey Cancer Center," said Dr. Arshad Husain, medical director of hematology and oncology at Methodist Hospital. "This alliance means great things for our patients. It will enable us to offer access to the latest practices in diagnosis and treatment of cancers and blood disorders, including clinical trials – thus providing a higher level of cancer care in our neighborhood."
The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research.
Methodist Hospital in Henderson is a 192-bed acute care facility and is just one facet of the Methodist Hospital Healthcare system. Other facilities serving the area include
Methodist Hospital Union County, a critical access hospital in nearby Morganfield, Ky., and 19 outpatient physician offices with 47 providers over a four-county service area.
By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate, Methodist Hospital is in keeping with the organization’s mission to provide safe, compassionate, high quality, and cost-effective services to the communities served. The Methodist Hospital Healthcare system will now be able to offer their patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay in western Kentucky for most treatments.
The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.
"UK HealthCare doesn't just serve Lexington and central Kentucky – our mission is to provide all Kentuckians with the best possible care right here in the state," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network allows us to collaborate with community hospitals to provide top-notch cancer care much closer to home -- saving both travel expenses and time for the patients, in addition to keeping them close to their personal support system."
Markey is one of only 68 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.
Moving forward, the Markey Cancer Center is working toward the next tier of designation – an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 41 of the 68 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network will play a large role in bringing that next level of cancer funding to Kentucky.
"The burden of cancer in Kentucky is huge, and unfortunately we have some of the worst cancer rates in the country," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "By collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer care here in the Commonwealth."
The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and comprises 12 hospitals across the state of Kentucky:
Evaluations are under way for several other hospitals, including two more outside the state of Kentucky, extending Markey's reach and establishing it as the destination cancer center for the region.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) - To celebrate Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, cancer survivors and UK faculty and staff participated in a special tailgating event called "tealgating" eariler this month.
The event further helped create awareness about the UK Ovarian Screening Program, an ongoing study that uses transvaginal ultrasound to detect ovarian cancers. Women over age 50 and women over age 25 who have a family history of ovarian cancer are eligible for the free program.
More than 43,000 women have participated in the UK Ovarian Screening Program and more than 256,000 free ultrasound screens have been done through the program. Women from every county in Kentucky have participated in the program ane more than 85 malignancies have been detected.
For more information on the program or to schedule an appointment, visit http://ovarianscreening.info.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2014) – Dr. Edward M. Wolin, a nationally known expert in treating neuroendocrine and carcinoid tumors, has joined the team at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
Neuroendocrine tumors develop from endocrine cells found in the digestive tract, lungs, pancreas, and other sites. These rare cancers present unique diagnostic challenges. They tend to be slow-growing, and usually have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.
At Markey, Wolin will serve as the director of the Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Program. In addition to working with Markey's team of surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, and diagnostic radiologists, Wolin will collaborate on patient care with UK Chief of Medical Oncology Dr. Lowell Anthony. Anthony came to UK in 2011 and helped build up Markey's Neuroendocrine Clinic, the region's first multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to endocrine and neuroendocrine tumors.
Wolin brings a robust research program to Markey, including multiple clinical trials. His research efforts focus on finding treatments which are more effective and less toxic, including pasireotide, lanreotide, everolimus, other m-tor inhibitors, targeted radiation including peptide receptor radiotherapy with Lu-177, anti-angiogenic drugs, novel targeted biologic anti-cancer treatments, and targeted treatment of liver metastases. Wolin's research is also directed at development of new imaging and diagnostic procedures for carcinoid/neuroendocrine tumors.
"Dr. Wolin is renowned for his skill in treating these complex forms of cancer, and we are thrilled to bring his expertise to our patients here in Kentucky," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "Through his clinical trials, many patients will be able to receive extremely specialized care that they couldn't get anywhere else in the country."
Wolin earned his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine. He performed his internship, residency and a medical oncology fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center followed by a clinical fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to coming to Markey, he served as co-director of the Cedars-Sinai Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Wolin sees patients in the Multidisciplinary Clinic on the first floor of the UK Markey Cancer Center's Whitney-Hendrickson building. To make an appointment, call 859-257-4488 or toll free 866-340-4488.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2014) – A new study by University of Kentucky researchers has identified a novel molecule named Arylquin 1 as a potent inducer of Par-4 secretion from normal cells. Par-4 is a protein that acts as a tumor suppressor, killing cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
Normal cells secrete small amounts of Par-4 on their own, but this amount is not enough to kill cancer cells. Notably, if Par-4 secretion is suppressed, this leads to tumor growth.
Published in "Nature Chemical Biology," the UK study utilized lab cultures and animal models to show that low levels of Arylquin 1 induced Par-4 secretion without causing harm to the producer cells.
Additionally, researchers found that Par-4 is bound to a protein called vimentin, which contributes to tumor metastasis. Arylquin 1 binds to vimentin, displacing the Par-4 for secretion -- which means it may also be useful for inhibiting the spread of cancer.
These findings have strong implications for the development of future cancer treatments, as researchers are now focusing on developing Arylquin 1 into a drug to inhibit both primary and metastatic tumors.
"We found that Par-4 is inactivated by pro-metastasis proteins such as vimentin," said Vivek Rangnekar, UK professor and Alfred Cohen Chair in Oncology Research in the Department of Radiation Medicine. "This implies that by using small molecule drugs that target metastasis proteins, we may be able to both inhibit the spread of cancer while also releasing the tumor suppressor -- Par-4 -- to then induce the death of the cancerous cells."
Rangnekar, who also serves as associate director for the UK Markey Cancer Center, initially discovered the Par-4 gene in 1994. Working closely with UK medicinal chemist David Watt and a multidisciplinary team across the UK campus, their labs are developing secretagogues that can cause elevated secretion of Par-4 for the inhibition of primary and metastatic tumors.
This study was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Research Resources, and the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2014) -- Did you know that you can help others by participating in research? Health-focused research affects every aspect of our lives, from the medications we take to the health of our environment. Researchers are working hard to identify new treatments and strategies to improve the health of our communities, but research needs healthy volunteers and volunteers with medical conditions in order to succeed. Participating in research is a safe, easy way for you to give back to your community and give hope for the future while learning more about your own health.
Find out how you can participate in research during the University of Kentucky's next #AskACat Twitter chat, beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, at @universityofky. UK researchers will answer general questions about participating in research. They will also answer questions about ResearchMatch, a registry that pairs volunteers with researchers looking for participants, and UK's new Research Registry and Specimen Bank, or the "biobank." For more information on ResearchMatch, visit www.researchmatch.org/?rm=@AskaCat.
UK patients are being invited to help researchers by allowing leftover blood and tissue from their normal medical procedures to put into the biobank. For example, when a patient undergoes a blood draw or tissue biopsy, the blood or tissue that isn’t used for testing is normally thrown away. In the new biobank project, however, patients will be given a consent form to allow any “leftover” blood or tissue from their regular medical procedures to be stored in the biobank for research purposes. No additional procedures will be performed or extra blood or tissues collected whatsoever. Participation is voluntary, and to protect patient privacy, all identifying information (such as name, address and social security numbers) will be removed from the samples and corresponding medical records.
Four UK experts will respond to questions during the chat:
· Belinda Smith, education specialist at the Office of Research Integrity;
· Ada Sue Selwitz, director of the Office of Research Integrity;
· Dr. Susanne Arnold, associate professor in medical oncology and radiation medicine and associate director for clinical translation at the Markey Cancer Center; and
· Dr. Phil Kern, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center.
Join the conversation or follow the chat at the university's official account @universityofky, or use the hashtag #AskACat for questions and responses from the Twitter chat.
Individuals interested in asking questions about participation in health care research, ResearchMatch, or the biobank can send their questions to twitter.com/universityofky through 3 p.m. Sept. 16, or to the UK Facebook page prior to 2 p.m., Sept. 16. Responses to questions will be shared with the university's Twitter followers and those following the hashtag #AskACat.
UK will present its next #AskACat Twitter chat Oct. 21.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale or Elizabeth Adams, 859-257-1754
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2014) – Hardin Memorial Health celebrated a new affiliation between its Cancer Care Center and the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
"The Markey affiliate agreement provides a great opportunity for professional education and training for our staff and physicians," said Hardin Memorial Health President Dennis Johnson. "Collaboration with Markey and their affiliates across the state allows our team to stay up-to-date on the newest cancer treatments and research."
"There is no reason for cancer patients in central Kentucky to leave this area to seek treatment, because the HMH Cancer Care Center provides personalized cancer care close to home," said Dr. Adam Lye, medical director of the Hardin Memorial Health Cancer Care Center. "This care can be enhanced when combined with Markey's specialized treatment, technology and clinical trial opportunities that will help us take cancer care to the next level. This is great news for cancer patients and their families in our community."
By joining the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, the HMH Cancer Care Center will be able to offer their patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay closer to home for most treatments. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.
The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and comprises eleven hospitals across the state of Kentucky:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2014) – A new web-based program developed by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers will provide a simple, free way for healthcare providers to determine which brain tumor cases require testing for a genetic mutation.
Gliomas – a type of tumor that begins in the brain or spine – are the most common and deadly form of brain cancer in adults, making up about 80 percent of malignant brain cancer cases. In some of these cases, patients have a mutation in a specific gene, known as an IDH1 mutation – and patients who have this tend to survive years longer than those who do not carry the mutation.
Developed by UK researchers Li Chen, Eric Durbin, and Craig Horbinski in collaboration with software architect Isaac Hands of the UK Markey Cancer Center Cancer Research Informatics Shared Research Facility, the program uses a statistical model to accurately predict the likelihood that a patient carries the IDH1 mutation and requires screening.
Gliomas are often tested for IDH1 mutation following surgery to remove the tumor, but undergoing this type of testing often requires stringent insurance pre-approvals due to rising healthcare costs, Horbinski says.
"Currently, there are no universally accepted guidelines for when gliomas should be tested for this mutation," Horbinski said. "Obtaining insurance pre-approval for additional molecular testing is becoming more commonplace, and this program will assist healthcare providers with an evidence-based rationale for when IDH1 screening is necessary."
Additionally, Horbinski notes that the program will help conserve research dollars by helping brain cancer researchers narrow down which specific older gliomas in tumor banks – previously removed in a time before IDH1 testing was routine – should be tested as data for research projects.
Horbinski's research on the program was published in the May issue of Neuro-Oncology. The work was funded through a grant from the National Cancer Institute, the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Training Program in Translational Clinical Oncology, and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Physician Scientist Program.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) – Becker’s Hospital Review magazine has listed the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital among the nation’s “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Programs” in its recently released compilation of leading cancer care providers in the United States. The UK Markey Cancer Center, whose clinical programs are integrated with Chandler, received a National Cancer Institute cancer center designation in July 2013.
According to the health care industry trade publication, organizations included on the 2014 list are “leading the way in terms of quality of patient care, patient outcomes and research.” Becker’s noted Markey's recent NCI designation, its 29 percent patient growth over the past five years, and its status as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers for 10 cancer types.
The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team selected hospitals for inclusion based on rankings and awards they have received from a variety of reputable sources. The following awards were considered as part of the criteria for inclusion on the list: U.S. News & World Report cancer rankings, Truven Health Analytics, CareChex cancer care rankings, National Cancer Institute designations, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditations, American Nurses Credentialing Center designations, and awards and Blue Distinction Center recognition from the BlueCross BlueShield Association.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 30, 2014) – As part of a weeklong tour across the state, the Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition will be making a stop at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center today at 11 a.m. to promote better health for Kentuckians through smoke-free policies. The event at Markey is one of several stops across the state as it heads to western Kentucky for the annual Fancy Farm Picnic.
At each stop, the Smoke-Free Coalition is rallying supporters and reaching out to legislators, urging them to join 24 other states in passing a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law that covers all indoor workplaces and public places, including bars and restaurants. The goal of the tour is to get all Kentuckians, around the state, active and engaged in supporting smoke-free policy as the campaign gears up for the 2015 legislative session.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, almost 70 of which are known to cause cancer, and is proven to cause heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory illnesses and even premature death. In fact, studies indicate that secondhand smoke exposure causes about 1,000 deaths a year in Kentucky.
To find out more information about how smoke-free policies are good for health and businesses visit: www.smokefreekentucky.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 30, 2014) — The phrase "we caught it early" is possibly the best news a patient can hear in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. Combating cancer in its earliest stages, when the disease is localized to a certain part of the body, gives patients the best chances of survival.
Screenings for breast, skin, colon, prostate and other forms of cancer are touted for saving lives through early detection. Many health care providers recommend cancer screenings as a precautionary measure, especially for high-risk patients. But in the case of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, the patient's decision to undergo a screening process is more complex.
According to University of Kentucky psychologist Dr. Jamie Studts, lung cancer screening is an algorithm, not an event. Patients aren't always aware of the physical and psychological consequences of the lung cancer screening process, which can lead to false positive results, invasive biopsy procedures, harmful radiation exposure and anxiety caused by an ongoing process.
Studts, a researcher in the UK Department of Behavioral Science and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program of the Markey Cancer Center, is working to develop an online tool that will help individuals at high risk for lung cancer navigate the lung cancer screening decision-making process. He said the decision to undergo lung cancer screening should be well-informed and aligned with the patient's personal values. Studts is collaborating with Dr. Margaret Byrne, a health economist and medical decision-making researcher at the University of Miami, on this project, which is funded by a grant awarded from the National Cancer Institute.
"Screening is for asymptomatic, healthy people to find out there's something wrong," Studts said. "You are committing to a series of events that will lead to either learning you don’t have cancer, or detecting and treating it."
A number of factors, including the Affordable Care Act's provision of accessibility to cancer screening services and results from a 2011 National Lung Screening Trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute, have reinvigorated the public's interest in lung cancer screening. The National Lung Screening Trial reported a 20 percent relative reduction in mortality for high-risk individuals who received a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans. But the report also identified substantial risks and limitations to lung cancer screenings, which included overdiagnosis and relatively high false positive rates. The rate of false positive occurrence in the study of a high-risk population was 39 percent. With high rates of false positive scans and ongoing follow-up treatment, Studts said widespread lung cancer screening could be a costly burden for government-funded health care but could also prevent very expensive treatments for late stage lung cancer.
Studts and his fellow researchers have proposed a decision-making aid that is designed to accomplish three objectives: disperse knowledge, empower the patient and clarify individual's values. The aid will present accurate information about the screening process and calculate feedback that's tailored to the individual. The tool will also empower the individual to discuss the decision with their health care provider by providing a prompt list of potential questions. Finally, the values clarification component of the tool will explore the patient's personal preferences regarding the lung cancer screening process. For instance, if a patient is ultimately unwilling to undergo surgery for a lung biopsy, the tool can determine that they will likely experience minimal benefit from a screening.
"The goal is to help people interpret what they learn in the context of what’s important to them regarding their goals in health," Studts said. "They will learn about lung cancer screening options, benefits, harms and uncertainties associated with the modality.”
To develop the provider education program, Studts has collaborated with a team of University of Kentucky experts, including Dr. Eric Bendsadoun, a pulmonologist and director of the lung cancer screening program; Dr. Susanne Arnold, a medical oncologist who is part of the multidisciplinary lung cancer screening program; Dr. Michael Brooks, a cardiothoracic radiologist; Dr. Mark Dignan, a cancer prevention and control researcher; Dr. Eric Durbin, a cancer research informatics expert; and Dr. Brent Shelton, a cancer biostatistician.
The next step in their research will be conducting a clinical trial to test the decision-making aid among high-risk individuals, or high pack-year smokers, in Florida and Kentucky. Recently, Studts, along with Dr. Tim Mullet, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UK, received funding from the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program to develop an online continuing education program geared toward educating health care providers about lung cancer screening and how to discuss the lung cancer screening question with their patients. Eventually, he envisions dispersing a comprehensive educational toolkit on lung cancer screening to clinics and hospitals.
Studts said the current research suggests that lung cancer screening has minimal benefits for individuals younger than 55. Still, many Americans with a history of high pack-year smoking will face the decision of whether to be screened for cancer in their lifetime. Studts believes it will be helpful to implement an online tool that will help guide members of the high-risk population through a decision-making process.
"We’re interested in delivering high quality patient centered care – helping people be engaged in their health care choices and helping health care providers engage in these choices too."
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2014) – The Louisville Ironman – a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run – is a competition that would test even the toughest of wills.
But for University of Kentucky radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock, the competition is about more than achieving a personal goal – Feddock, an accomplished triathlete, is using his athletic talents to help provide better care for the cancer patients he treats. When he competes in the Aug. 24 Ironman, he'll be doing so to raise money to pay for renovations and updates to the brachytherapy program at the UK Markey Cancer Center.
Brachytherapy is a specific form of radiation treatment where radiation sources are placed inside or close to the area requiring treatment.
”The main benefit to using brachytherapy for the treatment of cancer is that this is the only method of radiation treatment where we can make radiation appear exactly where we want to," said Feddock. "If your goal is to treat a tumor with curative doses of radiation and not treat the normal parts of the body immediately next to it, then brachytherapy is the best option.”
The total estimated cost for the brachytherapy project is approximately $1.2 million dollars, and Feddock has a specific goal to reach – he is trying to raise $200,000, with the remaining $1 million to be matched through the University, independent philanthropists, and department funds. The proposed changes would consolidate all areas involving brachytherapy, including moving the implant procedure room and the radiation treatment room into a combined space, and upgrading the current brachytherapy equipment.
Brachytherapy treatment is commonly used to treat most gynecologic cancers, as well as malignancies of the breast, prostate, and skin. Under Feddock’s leadership, the radiation medicine department has developed a niche practice that uses brachytherapy for recurrent tumors in patients who have previously received radiation. As a result, UK sees patients from all over the country.
Unfortunately, Kentucky holds the distinction of having some of the highest cancer rates in the country – including being No. 8 in the U.S. for cervical cancer incidence. The availability of brachytherapy in the state is limited, and as a result, Markey provides brachytherapy services for essentially all patients coming from central, eastern and southern Kentucky.
Currently, Markey patients receive their brachytherapy implants in the Ben F. Roach Building, but have to be transported down a long hallway to the radiation treatment room in the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Because the radiation therapy treatment and recovery rooms require a shielded vault, consolidation is not an easy process.
However, Feddock points out, the renovations will improve staff efficiency and the overall patient experience, in addition to allowing his team to see even more patients per day.
"Currently, the setup and logistics of brachytherapy treatment limit me to no more than two cases a day," Feddock said. "As our patient population grows, there's a real need to streamline the process so we can see more patients. I believe the proposed changes would allow me to treat three to four patients a day."
Feddock is determined to reach his goal, and he's even implemented a clever strategy to bring in donations. After speaking with members of the World Triathlon Corporation, he has been given special permission to begin the Ironman in Louisville this year in last place – and he's encouraging donors to "bet against him" by pledging a small amount for every single person he passes in the race. With close to 3,000 competitors ahead of him, that's a lot of potential donations.
The plan becomes more impressive when you look at his track record: in 2011, Feddock finished 30th in the Ironman; in 2013, he finished 17th.
”While I'm approaching some corporate sponsors and individual philanthropists about making larger donations, I think crowdfunding is the key here," Feddock said. "Every single dollar helps, and if a lot of different people contribute just a small amount, it will add up. By pledging even a small donation, you'll be making a huge impact on cancer care for women and men across Kentucky."
Dr. Marcus Randall, chair of the Department of Radiation Medicine, says his team fully supports Feddock's undertaking.
“Dr. Feddock’s commitment to his patients and to UK HealthCare is inspirational to us all," Randall said. "The department is strongly supporting Dr. Feddock, which shows that we truly have 'skin in the game' when it comes to giving our patients the best treatment possible.”
To support Feddock's mission and improve patient care at the UK Markey Cancer Center, visit his personal fundraising page, Ironcology.net for details on how to donate. All donations are processed through the Markey Cancer Foundation.
To protect the health of the patients we serve this flu season, UK HealthCare has made temporary changes to Bone Marrow Transplant visitation policies. Read more »
Para proteger la salud de las personas a quienes atendemos durante esta temporada de influenza, UK HealthCare ha hecho cambios temporales a los reglamentos en cuanto a visitas. Más »
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