Message from the Director: Serving an important area
By Mark Evers, MD, UK Markey Cancer Center Director
As news of our NCI Cancer Center designation was making headlines this year, you may have heard about Markey Cancer Center’s track record and progress fighting cancer in Appalachia. Although we associate Appalachia with the region closest to us in Kentucky, it actually stretches from the Mississippi Delta to southern New York. Appalachia as a whole has extremely high rates of cancer incidence and mortality, especially for lung, colorectal and cervical cancer. The central Appalachian region, much of which lies in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, is among the most economically disadvantaged, medically underserved, and disease-burdened areas in the nation. Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 54 are in Appalachia, and 41 of those counties are classified as “distressed,” placing their economic indicators in the lowest 10% among all U.S. counties. Kentucky is first among all states in overall cancer mortality rate and has second highest incidence rate for all cancer sites.
As a result of these challenges, we’ve made it our explicit mission at Markey to reduce cancer mortality in our region through a comprehensive program of cancer research, treatment, education, and community engagement. In particular, our focus is on the underserved populations of Appalachian Kentucky and throughout our entire catchment area of central and eastern Kentucky, western West Virginia, northeastern Tennessee and southern Ohio. Our ultimate goal is to drive a measurable reduction in the burden of cancer for our patients, their families, our state, our region, and our nation. Three goals, in particular, are key to our NCI status and upholding our mission:
- Establish Markey as a transformational, comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the prevention and treatment of cancers and the reduction of cancer burden and disparities. Our focus in these efforts will continue to be the rural, under represented communities of eastern Kentucky.
- Be a nationally recognized leader in the diagnosis and treatment of the specific cancers with high incidence rates in Kentucky and cancers that represent established or emerging strengths of the MCC.
- Increase investigator-initiated clinical research and clinical trial accruals.
Fulfilling these goals through our NCI Cancer Center status will allow us to make a noticeable and measurable impact on the lives of Kentuckians, Appalachian residents, and the thousands of people throughout our catchment area whose lives have been impacted by cancer..
Read more about Markey's National Cancer Institute designation »
Read the press release dated July 12, 2013 »