Quality in Cancer Care

It is an unfortunate fact that the state of Kentucky consistently ranks among the highest in the nation for cancer incidence and mortality. As Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated facility, UK HealthCare’s Markey Cancer Center has a tremendous responsibility to the people of the Commonwealth and the Appalachian region. It is our goal to significantly reduce cancer mortality in the Commonwealth.

As one of only 56 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, Markey is committed to, and recognized for, upholding the highest standards of cancer care. 


In an effort to address discrepancies in cancer care and treatment throughout the United States, the National Quality Forum, in cooperation with the Commission on Cancer, has endorsed a series of standard care recommendations. Measuring our compliance with these recommendations allows us  not only to compare the quality of care we provide with other cancer centers but, more importantly, to continually evaluate and improve that care. 

Tracking these measures and reporting them openly is just one tactic in our efforts to reach that goal.

Breast cancer

Radiation therapy is administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women under age 70 receiving breast-conserving surgery for breast cancer (NQF 0219). Higher is better.

Combination chemotherapy is recommended or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for women under 70 with AJC T1CN0M0, or stage IB-III hormone receptor negative breast cancer (NQF 0559). Higher is better.

Tamoxifen or third-generation aromatase inhibitor is recommended or administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women with AJCC T1CN0M0 or stage IB-III hormone receptor positive breast cancer (NQF 0220). Higher is better.

Radiation therapy is recommended or administered following any mastectomy within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis of breast cancer for women with 4 or more positive regional lymph nodes. Higher is better.

Image or palpation-guided needle biopsy (core or FNA) to the primary site is performed to establish diagnosis of breast cancer. Higher is better.

Colon cancer

Adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for patients under the age of 80 with AJCC stage III (lymph node positive) colon cancer (NQF 0223). Higher is better.

At least 12 regional lymph nodes removed and pathologically examined for resected colon cancer (NQF 0225). Higher is better.

Lung cancer

Surgery is not the first course of treatment for cN2, M0 lung cases. Higher is better.

Systemic chemotherapy is administered within 4 months to day preoperatively or day of surgery to 6 months postoperatively, or it is recommended for surgically resected cases with pathologic, lymph node-positive (pN1) and (pN2) NSCLC. Higher is better.

Rectal cancer

Pre-op chemo & radiation for clinical AJCC 3n0, T4N0 or Stage III; or post-op chemo & radiation within 180 days of diagnosis for clinical AJCC T1-2N0 with path AJCC T3N0, T4N0 or Stage III; or recommended for patients < age 80 resected rectal cancer. Higher is better.