UK’s DanceBlue 2018 raises $1.8 million for the fight against pediatric cancer

During DanceBlue 2018 from 8 p.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Sunday, more than 900 students helped raise $1,804,068.77 to fight pediatric cancer.

DanceBlue supports the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

“I could not be more proud to be a student at a university that empowers students to be a part of something greater than themselves,” said Madison Conroy, the DanceBlue chair. “Over the years, the students have grasped on to the idea of DanceBlue and worked so hard toward the greater mission of ending pediatric cancer. While it will be bittersweet to see DanceBlue 2018 come to a close, it is exciting to know that there are so many passionate students who will continue to grow DanceBlue in the years to come!”

DanceBlue is UK’s largest student-run philanthropy — a yearlong fundraising effort involving thousands of UK students, culminating in a 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. All of the money raised by DanceBlue goes to the Golden Matrix Fund and cancer research.

Since the organization’s launch in 2006, DanceBlue has raised more than $13.4 million, providing financial and emotional support for children and families living with childhood cancer.

DanceBlue students volunteer about 1,000 hours in the clinic each year. Every week, dozens of students produce smiles and laughter among patients and families. Students give their time because of that one phrase that embodies the DanceBlue mission: “For The Kids.”

The DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic opened its new facility in 2017 after a complete renovation funded solely by DanceBlue. Visit this page for more information about DanceBlue or to support its efforts. Also, connect with DanceBlue on Facebook and Twitter.

Next steps:

UK Precision Medicine Clinic

Bringing precision medicine to our patients with cancer

Jill Kolesar, PharmD

Written by Jill Kolesar, PharmD, a professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, co-director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Molecular Tumor Board and director of Markey’s Precision Medicine Clinic.

Historically, cancer treatment has been offered through one-size-fits-all therapies based on the average person.

But that is changing as we learn more about cancer and why it occurs. Scientists and doctors – including those at the Markey Cancer Center and UK HealthCare – are increasingly using an exciting new treatment option called precision medicine.

Precision medicine a kind of treatment that takes into account each patient’s individual genetics, environment and lifestyle to find a tailored therapy that works for their specific cancer.

Recently, we launched our very own Precision Medicine Clinic at UK, the first of its kind in Kentucky. Our team at the Precision Medicine Clinic specializes in finding personalized treatment options that will be most effective for our patients.

What is the Precision Medicine Clinic?

Because precision medicine is a relatively new approach to treating cancer, many of the therapies are still being studied in early-phase clinical trials.

The Precision Medicine Clinic is a dedicated treatment center for patients with cancer who are enrolled in or eligible for early-phase precision medicine clinical trials. The clinic provides a space for patients to receive clinical trial treatments, with staff highly experienced in precision medicine and clinical trials.

What does the Precision Medicine Clinic offer?

As part of Markey, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky, the clinic provides access to early-phase precision medicine clinical trials. Through these trials, we offer many cancer treatment services, including:

  • Infusion therapy, treatment delivered intravenously (IV).
  • Targeted therapy, treatment that works based on a patient’s genetics.
  • Immunotherapy, treatment that works with a patient’s immune system.
  • Oral cancer therapies, treatment patients can take by mouth at home, making treatment more convenient and accessible.

The clinic is also connected with Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board. This multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians meets regularly to discuss specific cases and use the members’ shared expertise to find treatment options for patients with cancer.

Who works in the Precision Medicine Clinic?

Our clinic is fully staffed with experts in the field of precision medicine and clinical trials:

  • Precision medicine nurses specialize in administering infusion, or IV, treatments to patients, ensure patients are comfortable, and address any unexpected complications during the infusion.
  • Clinical research nurses work with patients to find the best-fit clinical trial for their specific cancer and health conditions.
  • Precision medicine pharmacists are experts in ensuring investigational and standard-of-care therapies fit with each patient’s other medications and conditions, preventing adverse effects, and in educating patients on how to take their medications.
  • Clinical service technicians work with patients, physicians and pharmacists to ensure all treatments run smoothly and effectively.
  • Medical oncologists and hematologists from a variety of specialties provide their expertise for each patient and their individualized treatment.

How can you contact the Precision Medicine Clinic?

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Precision Medicine Clinic, please contact us at 859-257-4488.

Watch a video interview with Dr. Kolesar, where she tells us more about the Precision Medicine Clinic and how cancer patients can benefit from its services.

Next steps:

  • Get to know Dr. Kolesar and find out why she is so passionate about cancer research.
  • Markey is Kentucky’s only NCI-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.
Bradley Wilson DanceBlue

Watch: UK student, cancer survivor inspiring others through DanceBlue

UK junior Bradley Wilson has experienced the impact of DanceBlue firsthand – as a two-time pediatric cancer survivor. Now he’s leading the fight against cancer as part of DanceBlue’s student leadership.

DanceBlue is a year-long fundraising and volunteer effort that supports cancer research at the UK Markey Cancer Center, the families of children receiving treatment for pediatric cancer at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital DanceBlue Hematology/Oncology Clinic and the Golden Martix Fund. DanceBlue culminates in a 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon held every year on the UK campus.

Most UK students learn about DanceBlue through friends on campus, sessions during orientation or by participating in one of the dozens of mini-marathons hosted by elementary, middle and high schools across the Commonwealth. For Wilson, however, his knowledge of DanceBlue comes from personal experience.

Wilson is a childhood cancer survivor and received treatment at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital DanceBlue Hematology/Oncology Clinic for the last time just a few years ago.

“Being a patient, it was really awesome having DanceBlue people around,” Wilson said. “Having friends at the clinic to just hang out and pass the time was a really big encouragement to me.”

From patient to supporter

Upon his arrival on campus, Wilson knew DanceBlue would be a big part of his campus experience. He has been involved with DanceBlue since his freshman year – dancing and serving on committee. This year, he’s taken on a bigger leadership role – the Family Relations chair.

As the DanceBlue Family Relations chair, he and his coordinators work with the clinic staff to make sure children in treatment enjoy their childhood despite their diagnosis. They are the face of DanceBlue in the clinic – the friends there to hang out with and encourage patients.

“To have that perspective on what it’s like to be a patient and to experience what they’re experiencing, but then also see how I can give and serve and try to make their lives a little bit easier is a unique position to be in,” he said.

Wilson, a chemical engineering major from Simpsonville, Ky., enjoyed seeing the Family Relations Committee volunteering while he was receiving treatment during his freshman year. Seeing college students come and support the patients receiving treatment made him want to participate in DanceBlue as soon as he could.

“I’m not sure that they knew that the support system they provide is vital to the journey to recovery. Empathy is a big part of it. There’s a certain level of understanding that comes with surviving cancer,” Wilson said. “Being able to say I’ve been in a similar situation, I’ve been through very similar things and I can understand to some extent what you’re experiencing, and that it’s okay to not be okay.”

‘For the kids’

The Family Relations team and other DanceBlue leadership volunteer their time in the clinic playing games, talking with families and engaging in the occasional Nerf gun war. The students do anything they can to make the children and families more comfortable while they’re receiving treatment.

“There’s so much that I love about DanceBlue,” Wilson said. “From being at the marathon seeing the talent show when the kids get on stage and perform to being in the clinic and getting to spend time with families and play games and goof off, it’s a lot of fun.”

The 2018 DanceBlue dance marathon begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, and ends at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Memorial Coliseum on UK’s campus. Nearly 900 dancers will participate in DanceBlue 2018. The event is free and open to the public for the duration of the event. Spectators are welcome.

“One of the biggest things that we like to point out is that DanceBlue isn’t something that’s passed down from administration,” Wilson said. “DanceBlue grew from the student body, and that shows a lot about the people on this campus. For many people I’ve talked to that are on DanceBlue committee now, it was a part of the reason that they came to UK.”

DanceBlue unites students from all backgrounds, organizations and experiences for one common cause: the kids.

“Given the opportunity, I feel like I really have to give back,” Wilson said. “To me, I don’t see any other option.”

Watch the video below to see Wilson discuss his own cancer diagnosis and how that allows him to support and inspire patients and families going through a similar experience.

Next steps:

MWS Distinguished Researcher Kathleen O’Connor

Philanthropy program empowers women-led cancer research at UK

“Stronger together” is a motto that inspires many aspects of Lois Reynolds’ life.

From her approach to her family and friendships to her involvement with the UK Markey Cancer Foundation as a board member, she has long understood the impact that can be made when a group of people rally around a mission.

Reynolds’ first introduction to cancer came when she was 24, when her uncle was diagnosed with melanoma despite not showing any of the disease’s typical symptoms. Within six months of the diagnosis, he was gone. Since then, Reynolds has lost other close friends and family members to cancer, including her own mother. She has even faced her own recurring battle with skin cancer.

Reynolds knows that cancer affects nearly everyone in some way, and her experience with it has fueled her desire to make a real difference in the fight against the disease.

She decided she wanted to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the UK Markey Cancer Foundation in a way that also created passionate ambassadors for the research and clinical work being done at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

With that goal in mind, Markey Women Strong was formed in 2017.

Hope through research

Reynolds first discussed the idea for Markey Women Strong, or MWS, with UK Markey Cancer Foundation President and CEO Michael Delzotti.

“We talked about the many emotions, including anger, grief and frustration, that surround a cancer diagnosis, regardless of whether it is oneself or a family member, and about the empowerment that comes with knowing you are taking an active part in something bigger than yourself,” Delzotti said. “I was reminded of something lauded Markey hematology and oncology specialist Dr. Ed Romond once said: ‘The best hope a cancer patient has is good research.’”

To encourage and promote such cancer research, each member of MWS commits to making an annual gift of $1,000. Together, the group listens to presentations by female researchers carrying out research at Markey. The group then votes to select which research projects to fund with the pooled contributions.

“Women in philanthropy supporting the work of female researchers was most appealing to our core group when starting MWS,” Reynolds said.

In its inaugural year, the members of MWS awarded two $50,000 Distinguished Research grants to Kathleen O’Connor, PhD, for her research on triplenegative breast cancer, and to Rina Plattner, PhD, whose research focuses on melanoma metastasis and therapeutic resistance.

“We had a great first year for Markey Women Strong, and I am very proud of that, but my goals for this project are much bigger,” Reynolds said. “I would like for 100 of my friends to donate $1,000 each, then I would like them to get 100 of their friends to donate $1,000 each and watch it continue to multiply. Each of us knows how uniquely cancer has affected us, and I want them to be an active participant in ensuring their donation makes a difference.”

Creating more stories of survivorship

Throughout the year, the UK Markey Cancer Foundation, which manages the MWS fund, hosted a lecture series for MWS members featuring updates and scientific advancements that are being made as a result of the group’s funding. Each salonstyle event also features a testimonial from a cancer survivor.

Reynolds said the presentations are an emotional reminder of the positive work the group is supporting in the fight against cancer.

“At our first MWS lecture, 24-year-old Reilly Butler gave us a very authentic and moving account of her journey through brain cancer diagnosis and treatment,” Reynolds said. “Afterward, Dr. John D’Orazio explained that we are funding research that will create more stories of hope and survivorship like Reilly’s. It is profoundly empowering to know we are playing an active role in the process and to truly understand the difference we are making with our contributions.”

To learn more about Markey Women Strong or to become a member, visit its website or contact Amy Morgan at

Next steps:

  • Learn more about the Markey Cancer Foundation, which supports cancer research in Kentucky through direct support of the Markey Cancer Center.
  • Markey is Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Find out why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.
Making the Rounds with Dr. Jonathan Kiev

Variety, challenge of surgery are why Jonathan Kiev loves his job

Making the RoundsFor our latest installment of Making the Rounds, we chatted with Dr. Jonathan Kiev, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UK HealthCare. Dr. Kiev treats a wide variety of conditions, including lung cancer, hiatal hernias and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

What kinds of patients do you see?

In Kentucky, we see a lot of patients with cancer – lung cancer and esophageal cancer especially. For these patients, we focus on early intervention, early diagnosis, early detection and early treatment so that the disease doesn’t take their life.

We also treat benign esophageal disease, acid reflux disease, hiatal hernias and benign lung disease. We see a lot coal miners and people who have illnesses that are related to occupational hazards whom we can help. We really cover the full gamut of patients: from those in the intensive care unit who need a consult, to people who are walking around but have something called hyperhidrosis or sweaty palms, which can be a disabling disease.

Why did you choose surgery as a specialty?

Surgery kind of chose me. I originally wanted to be a forensic pathologist. But then I went to medical school and I got into surgery and I said, “This is great!”

I found myself in a department that treats a wide breadth of things, and that just makes your day so much more fascinating. At the end of the day, even though you’re physically exhausted, your mind is still going. That to me is a fulfilling day.

What do you enjoy most about cardiothoracic surgery?

The fascinating thing is that it’s never the same. There’s nothing mundane, and something’s new every day. In Kentucky particularly, there’s a lot of disease that I can help treat and make huge impacts into people’s lives. That’s exciting to me.

The variability during the course of the week – being on call, talking about organ transplant, talking about lung cancer – it’s fascinating to me. Plus, being here at UK HealthCare, we work with so many different specialties, and my day can touch and be involved with these other experts. There’s always something to learn, and that’s the big thing about medicine: It’s always moving, and that kind of fits my personality.

In your role, you also train the next generation of surgeons and doctors. Tell us about that.

Being in academic medicine, I’m trying to be a role model for the guys behind me, the residents. I treat them as colleagues and I try to motivate them, and I think that’s what this environment encourages.

I had been in academics before and I’ve also been in private practice. Private practice was fun, but it didn’t involve teaching as much. Here, there’s an opportunity to really give these folks, the young folks, the gift that I think I have, which is a committed passion for the work we do.

Next steps:

Breast cancer survivors, understand your heart health risks

Dr. Maya Guglin

Dr. Maya Guglin

Written by Dr. Maya Guglin a cardiologist at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute.

Recently, the American Heart Association published a striking statement concerning women who have undergone chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment for breast cancer. The statement indicated that these therapies can contribute to heart failure or other heart problems, even years after the conclusion of cancer treatment.

If you are being treated for breast cancer or even if you are a survivor, this is undoubtedly a scary thought.

There is good news, however: Not all cancer treatment therapies can cause heart problems, and there are ways to potentially minimize your risk.

Which cancer therapies can cause heart damage?

Oncologists have long counseled patients about the risks associated with many life-saving cancer drugs. Two major classes of drugs linked to cardiac problems are anthracyclines and Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab). Their effects are very different.

Anthracyclines, including drugs like doxorubicin, can cause profound and long-lasting effects on cardiac muscles. These effects, however, are dose-dependent, and oncologists monitor the doses very carefully.

Herceptin typically causes milder cardiac damage, which is mostly reversible.

Additionally, radiation can cause arteries to narrow or develop blockages, which can lead to heart failure.

How can I minimize the risk to my heart?

Because of these side effects of cancer drugs, you probably had to have an echocardiogram – an ultrasound examination of the heart – to make sure your heart is healthy and can withstand the treatment.

Sometimes physicians may recommend altering therapy to avoid the possibility of heart damage. For example, instead of giving certain chemotherapies in one large dose, they may be less risky if given more slowly. And common cardiac medications like beta blockers may be able to reduce or prevent damage to the heart.

What should I do if I’ve had these treatments in the past?

The most important thing is to be aware of your risk for heart problems and to pay attention to your body. Fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and swelling are just a few symptoms of heart failure that are often overlooked.

Also, be sure you know the specific drugs you took for breast cancer. If you’re seeing a new doctor or coming into the emergency department, make sure your provider knows about your history with breast cancer treatment.

How can I reduce my risk of heart disease following breast cancer treatment?

Living a healthy lifestyle – managing your weight, eating well, exercising, and keeping an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol – can help reduce your chances of developing heart problems.

Major research is currently underway regarding this particular problem. We hope that we can soon find ways to lessen or eliminate these potential risks to the heart from breast cancer therapies.

Next steps:

Precision Medicine Clinic

New Markey clinic gives patients access to latest cancer treatments

In its ongoing efforts to offer Kentuckians the latest, most innovative cancer treatments available, the UK Markey Cancer Center recently launched the Precision Medicine Clinic, a new space dedicated to providing patients with increased access to Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

Before a new drug can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for widespread use, it must first be proven safe and effective in clinical trials. When patients are enrolled in Phase I trials, they are often among the first people to receive a promising new drug or treatment. Phase II trials build on the information gathered in a Phase I trial and often compare its efficacy with the current standard treatment for that specific cancer.

Many of the early-phase clinical trials offered at the Precision Medicine Clinic will be investigator-initiated trials from Markey physician-scientists, as well as national clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and Early Therapeutic Clinical Trials Network. Leading-edge trials like these are not usually available to patients treated outside an NCI-designated cancer center such as Markey.

Understanding cancer in Kentucky

Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board, which launched in November 2016, is providing ongoing guidance for the types of clinical trials the Precision Medicine Clinic will facilitate. As the tumor board members learn more about the types of mutations causing cancer in here in Kentucky and the region, new trials can be designed to target those specific mutations.

“Cancer treatment has traditionally been based on tumor types, but with more data obtained from genetic analyses, we are using that information to target specific mutations,” said Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers. “The more data we gather through the Molecular Tumor Board, the more precise therapies we’ll be able to offer through clinical trials at the Precision Medicine Clinic.”

A team of research experts

The Precision Medicine Clinic is directed by clinical pharmacologist Jill Kolesar, PharmD, a professor in the UK College of Pharmacy and a nationally known expert in oncology pharmacogenomics, alongside medical oncologist Dr. Susanne Arnold and surgical oncologist Dr. Rachel Miller. All have extensive experience in clinical trial implementation.

Additionally, the clinic employs a staff of multidisciplinary experts who have a high level of experience with research, including chemotherapy nurses, pharmacists, and research nurses. Cancer patients who are enrolled in early-phase clinical trials will receive much of their care in this new space.

Located on the second floor of UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion H, the Precision Medicine Clinic includes two exam rooms and four infusion chairs. Kolesar anticipates the clinic will see up to six patients a day and about 300 new patients each year.

Helping patients across the Commonwealth

The clinic will receive many internal referrals from UK HealthCare physicians, but community physicians from across the Commonwealth will also be able to refer patients to Markey for these unique trials and treatment options.

“The Precision Medicine Clinic provides trials that aren’t available anywhere else in Kentucky,” Kolesar said. “It truly benefits the entire state by providing access to the newest cancer treatments. Referring community physicians will be able to keep their patients here in Kentucky instead of sending them to other facilities far from home.”

Next steps:

  • Get to know Dr. Kolesar and find out why she is so passionate about cancer research.
  • Markey is Kentucky’s only NCI-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.

Join ‘Markey Women Strong’ to support female cancer researchers

The UK Markey Cancer Foundation invites you to take an active role in furthering life-changing cancer research at the UK Markey Cancer Center through the Markey Women Strong program.

Markey Women Strong is a philanthropy group of women and men that makes a meaningful difference in cancer research by funding female researchers focused on groundbreaking cancer research at Markey. Markey Women Strong members donate $1,000 annually and vote for two winners each year to receive the Distinguished Researchers award. Each recipient will receive a $50,000 grant to advance their work.

“The best hope a cancer patient has is good research,” said Lois Reynolds, founder of Markey Women Strong and a cancer survivor herself. “Thus, 100 percent of each Markey Women Strong membership directly funds our grants. This will continue to make the UK Markey Cancer Center the place where Kentucky comes to fight cancer.”

Launched in 2017, the inaugural Markey Women Strong Distinguished Researcher awards went to Markey researchers Kathleen O’Conner and Rina Plattner. The 2018 Distinguished Researchers will be announced at Markey Research Day on May 9. Join Markey Women Strong before April 1, and with your donation you’ll be able to vote for this year’s recipients.

For more information on Markey Women Strong, visit the Markey Cancer Foundation or contact Sarah Ronniger at

Next steps:

  • Learn more about the Markey Cancer Foundation, which supports cancer research in Kentucky through direct support of the Markey Cancer Center.
  • Markey is Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Find out why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.
jin shin jyutsu

Jin Shin Jyutsu: An ancient art with real health benefits

Written by Jennifer Bradley, a Jin Shin Jyutsu® practitioner at UK HealthCare. 

At UK HealthCare, we strive to combine traditional medicine and treatment with other complementary therapies to help treat the whole person, with an emphasis on healing and wellness.

One way we do that is through Jin Shin Jyutsu, a practice that uses light touch to assist with pain, stress, nausea, and other uncomfortable physical and emotional side effects of treatment and illness.

What is Jin Shin Jyutsu?

Jin Shin Jyutsu is the ancient art of balancing the body’s energy system, which facilitates healing and restores the body to a more harmonious state of being. Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioners use their hands to gently balance the flow of life energy in the patient’s body.

Jin Shin Jyutsu is a valuable complement to conventional healing methods. The body contains pathways that feed life energy into all cells and functions. The stresses of daily life – habits, emotions, illness and physical activity – add up over time. They can have adverse effects on the natural flow of energy along these pathways, similar to the way stones inhibit the free movement of water in a stream.

When one or more of these pathways becomes blocked, it can lead to general discomfort in the local area or elsewhere in the body, resulting in physical and/or emotional symptoms. The art of Jin Shin Jyutsu clears the blocks in these energetic pathways, returning them to a more harmonious state.

What happens during a Jin Shin Jyutsu session?

A typical Jin Shin Jyutsu session lasts about one hour. The patient lies face-up on a comfortable, cushioned surface and stays fully clothed. The practitioner begins the session by “listening” to the energetic pulses in the wrist area. These pulses reveal information about the current state of the body’s energetic system and help pinpoint the areas of stress or disharmony.

During treatment, the practitioner gently holds specific areas on the body called “safety energy locks” (similar to acupressure points) in various hand placement combinations known as “flows.”

These flows help unblock pathways, restoring the body to a state of harmony. There is no massage or physical manipulation of the body. The touch is light with very little pressure.

The practitioner may also suggest self-help techniques for the patient to perform between sessions for further harmonizing. Self-help may be performed as needed and has no adverse side effects.

What are the benefits of Jin Shin Jyutsu?

The experience of Jin Shin Jyutsu is unique to each individual and to each session. The most commonly reported effect is a feeling of deep relaxation of both the body and mind during and after the treatment. At times, the body may produce soft bubbling sounds that are simply a response to the body’s release of tension. Jin Shin Jyutsu’s most pronounced effects are felt within the first eight hours of a completed session.

Further long-term effects may be experienced and are unique to the individual.

If you are hoping to relieve the stress of cancer treatment or other existing health issues or if you simply wish to participate in the maintenance of good health and well-being, the Jin Shin Jyutsu services at Markey are a powerful healing tool that can prove helpful to all.

Watch a video about Jin Shin Jyutsu and how it is used to help patients at UK HealthCare.

Next steps:

  • UK HealthCare’s massage therapy program – available to patients, families and staff – promotes relaxation and helps relieve the side effects of illnesses and diseases.
  • Find out more about UK Integrative Medicine & Health, which focuses on the treating the whole patient using all appropriate therapies, healthcare expertise and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

Owensboro Health joins Markey Affiliate Network

Owensboro Health has joined the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, enhancing cancer care available to patients in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana and allowing them to stay closer to home and their support systems for most treatments.

Markey is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky.

“Owensboro Health exists to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Owensboro Health President and CEO Greg Strahan. “When it comes to offering national-quality, outstanding cancer care, we are proud to team up with the UK Markey Cancer Center, which is recognized as one of the foremost cancer care and research centers in the nation.”

Owensboro Health’s Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center (MMCC) serves the health system’s coverage area, a population of nearly 400,000 people across 14 counties in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. More than 1,000 patients are treated at the center annually. Last year, Owensboro Health also joined Markey’s Research Network, which allows MMCC to run many of Markey’s clinical trials on-site.

“As a native of Owensboro, it is a great honor to welcome Owensboro Health as our newest UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate,” said Dr. Mark Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “These relationships are very important to both of our institutions and most significantly to the care of patients throughout the region and the Commonwealth. We look forward to continuing to work with the outstanding team at Owensboro to provide the highest level of cancer treatment and prevention measures.”

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research. The affiliate network is especially important for Kentucky, where cancer rates are the highest in the nation.

“Kentucky is home to some of the worst cancer rates in the country,” said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. “Collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state will enable us to make a positive impact on the dire cancer rates here in the Commonwealth.”

Markey is one of only 69 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.

Moving forward, the UK Markey Cancer Center is working toward the next tier of designation – an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 45 of the 69 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status. The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network will play a large role in bringing that next level of cancer funding to Kentucky.

The affiliate network was created in 2006 and is made up of 20 hospitals across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Next steps:

  • Markey is Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.
  • Markey’s new state-of-the-art cancer care floor will allow our care teams to treat more patients with complex cancer diagnoses in an environment specifically designed for healing.