The next phase of urologic cancer care
Urologic cancers are some of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Kentucky. A new $5 million gift aims to change that.
The UK Markey Cancer Center received a $5 million gift in June 2022 to establish the Ambassador William Stamps Farish Program of Excellence in Urologic Cancer.
Given from the William Stamps Farish Fund through the Markey Cancer Foundation, the donation will be celebrated with named space inside the Urologic Cancer Clinic – part of the new Markey outpatient cancer treatment center and advanced ambulatory complex that is slated to open in 2026. “Philanthropy is crucial for us to reach our goals, and I’m incredibly grateful for this new gift from the Farish Fund,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center. “This funding will specifically help us address an all-toocommon problem in our state — our high rates of prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.”
Urologic cancers in Kentucky
Overall, Kentucky faces disproportionately high rates of cancer incidence and death compared with the rest of the U.S. Also known as genitourinary cancers, urologic cancers make up three of the top 10 most commonly diagnosed cancers in the state: prostate (No. 3), kidney (No. 6) and bladder (No. 7). Kentucky’s high rates of urologic cancers are correlated with socioeconomic factors, including obesity and tobacco use.
“We have all been touched, in some way, by the scourge of cancer,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Citizens across the Commonwealth and beyond turn to us — the University for Kentucky — for compassionate care and solutions to the most complex problems. I firmly believe that this new partnership holds such great promise for this state and those we serve.”
How the gift will be used
Previous gifts to the UK Department of Urology from the Farish Fund supported the recruitment of physicians and researchers. A portion of this multimillion-dollar gift has been set aside to foster the growth of young faculty investigators and their research efforts. This can include connecting them with the necessary support, resources and funds they need to pursue their projects and clinical trials related to urologic cancers. Two professorships are part of the gift as well.
“I want to thank the Farish family for their continued, generous support to our program over the years,” said Dr. Stephen Strup, the James F. Glenn Professor and Chairman of Urology. “With this new funding, we’ll focus on recruiting more faculty and supporting new research into the prevention and treatment of these cancers.”
“With this new funding, we’ll focus on recruiting more faculty and supporting new research into the prevention and treatment of these cancers.”
Dr. Stephen Strup
One of the most important aspects of this new urologic cancer program is how it will ultimately unite oncologists, researchers and faculty members under one roof. This way, they can effectively collaborate and ultimately advance urologic cancer care for Kentuckians.
“When you house all that in the same place, that’s how things get moving in the right direction,” Strup said. “This gift is a way to start tying a lot of that together.”
Since becoming the state’s only National Cancer Institute- Designated Cancer Center in 2013, Markey has seen its patient volume double and has launched two major new initiatives in personalized cancer care: the Molecular Tumor Board, which uses genetic analyses to help Markey physicians and researchers determine the best possible treatment for each individual patient, and the Precision Medicine Clinic, home to the latest early-phase clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Currently, more than a dozen Phase I and Phase II clinical trials for urologic cancers are available at this clinic.
The Farish family’s generosity
The William Stamps Farish Fund has contributed greatly to the University of Kentucky for many years. With this gift, the fund has given $9.3 million to support medical, equine and athletics initiatives at UK to date.
“The burden of cancer in Kentucky is immense, and we have watched and been inspired by the Markey Cancer Center’s capacity to provide advanced care to so many people in the Commonwealth,” said William S. Farish Jr., who is a trustee for the Markey Cancer Foundation. “We want to give Kentuckians their best chance at a long and healthy life, and this gift will provide more resources for patients, including more providers and improved access to the latest early-phase clinical trials, as close to home as possible.”