The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has earned National Cancer Institute designation for another five years.
The Lexington research and treatment facility is the only such NCI recognized center in Kentucky. Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers says the goal is to reduce cancer deaths across the Commonwealth in half over the next five to ten years. “I’m hopeful, I mean we’ve seen that, for example, colon cancer death rates. I mean, we used to be number one. We’re now number five. That’s still not good enough obviously. But, at least we’re making that downturn.”
Evers says the goal of cutting cancer deaths in half can be achieved through continuing to increase screenings plus more education. He says active cancer education programs in public schools can help change behavior.
The importance of funding for cancer research and treatment is something Jack Hillard can relate to. Hillard, who heads the Kentucky Cancer Foundation, is also a two time survivor of the disease. He offered his story during Friday’s ceremony recognizing the National Cancer Institute’s five year renewal of designation for the Markey Cancer Center. “Fifty years from now Kentuckians are still going to develop cancer, but we’re going to help them live, and live well. And, hopefully we’ll prevent a whole lot too that no one, at least fewer will get cancer,” added Hillard.
The NCI renewal means almost $11 million in federal dollars to support research, recruitment of faculty, education, and clinical trials.