March 17th, 2020
The ACTION Program has written a new book that seeks to inform, inspire, motivate and uplift the reader through personal cancer stories and cancer prevention initiatives.
The book, “The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia: Kentucky Students Take ACTION,” contains essays by 20 high school and five undergraduate students who are participants in the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
The state of Kentucky has more cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths than any other state in the nation. A majority of these cases are concentrated in the 54 counties that constitute the Appalachian region of the commonwealth.
The student essays in the book detail the effects of cancer diagnoses and deaths on individuals, families, friends and communities. As one of three editors of the book, ACTION Program Director Nathan L. Vanderford says he felt it was important to showcase the issue of cancer in Kentucky through personal stories and not data alone.
“Statistics around cancer and its impact are important, but data does not tell the true personal toll of the disease,” Vanderford said. “Telling stories – through the eyes of youth – of how cancer impacts individuals, families, and communities was one of the major purposes for this book. Such stories are important to share because we can learn from others’ experiences and become educated around cancer risk factors and cancer prevention and control strategies.”
With the book, Vanderford wants to reach Kentuckians that have been touched by or are invested in the cancer outlook of Kentucky. Additionally, he hopes to have a reach outside of the state so that others can better understand the cancer problem in Kentucky.
“Everyone is touched by and invested in this disease so we want to reach all citizens from students, parents, extended families, teachers, researchers, health care providers, law-makers and everyone in between,” said Vanderford.
The book is currently available for purchase on Amazon, University Press of Kentucky, Barnes & Noble as well as on other platforms. All the proceeds will help fund similar community outreach and education projects conducted by the ACTION Program.
In addition to Vanderford, author and student at the University of Kentucky Lauren Hudson and ACTION Program Coordinator Chris Prichard served as editors of the book. The book is being published by the University Press of Kentucky.