The right care at the right place
Through strong partnerships with community hospitals, Markey’s radiation oncologists are able to extend the reach of their care into rural areas of Kentucky.
Even though 19 percent of Americans live in rural parts of the country, only 7 percent of oncologists practice in these areas, according to an article published in The Lancet – Lancet Regional Health, The Americas in September by radiation oncologist, Dr. Aradhana Kaushal.
“By seeing patients where they live, we remove the barriers to care that my deter patients from seeking treatments they need,” Kaushal said.
And with cancer incidence increasing nationwide, it’s more important than ever to try to close the rural cancer care gap.
The radiation oncologists at the UK Markey Cancer Center, led by Dr. Mahesh Kudrimoti, are seeking to do just that. How? Through forging collaborative partnerships with community hospitals and training the next generation of radiation oncologists, some of whom stay in Kentucky to practice.
For a few decades now, Markey has had a steadfast presence in Morehead, about 70 miles east of Lexington in the Appalachian foothills of Northeastern Kentucky.
Markey radiation oncologists are present at the Morehead Cancer Treatment Center five days a week, treating 15 to 20 patients a day. They offer up-to-date treatments for common cancers – like lung, breast and prostate – to patients, most of whom are from rural areas in Eastern Kentucky. More complex cases can be referred to the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington.
“We provide care to patients who need it most.”
Dr. Mahesh Kudrimoti
The clinic is across the street from St. Claire Regional Medical Center, so patients can easily go from their medical oncology appointments to their radiation oncology appointments.
Morehead also has its own tumor board, which Markey physicians attend to share information about evolving treatments and available clinical trials. These cases can also be discussed at Markey’s own tumor board, giving patients the best chance at survival.
Physicists at Markey deliver calculations and radiation planning from Lexington. Along with engineers, they also provide support for the radiation oncology machines.
Markey will continue its promise of caring for patients in all corners of the state for years to come, as the clinic renewed its lease in Morehead last year for another five-year term.
“This is a long-term commitment from the department’s perspective,” Kudrimoti said.
Collaboration with Lexington Clinic
The Markey Cancer Center at Lexington Clinic is another way that Markey has been able to expand its outpatient care in Central Kentucky.
Among other services, the Richmond location – about 30 miles southeast of Lexington – offers radiation therapy, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, imageguided radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy and three-dimensional radiation treatment planning as well as medical oncology.
Next generation of radiation oncologists
In addition to being the interim chief of radiation oncology, Kudrimoti also serves as program director of UK’s Radiation Oncology Residency Program. He has seen graduates from this program stick around in the Bluegrass State and continue to treat patients locally.
“We do have a fair number of alumni from our program who are serving the needs of Kentuckians,” Kudrimoti said.
And they’re not just staying in Lexington – Kudrimoti noted graduates who have gone to smaller towns and more rural areas of the state, including Cambellsville, Elizabethtown and Georgetown. By remaining in Kentucky, these well-educated radiation oncologists are able to bring their expertise and knowledge of the latest practices to cancer patients who need it the most.