As news of our NCI Cancer Center designation was making headlines this year, you may have heard about Markey Cancer Center's track record and progress fighting cancer in Appalachia.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2014) — University of Kentucky faculty and students are invited to share their latest work in cancer research by submitting abstracts and attending Markey Cancer Center Research Day on May 22, 2014.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Singletary Center for the Arts will play host to a daylong event that showcases the work of cancer researchers from all disciplines at the University of Kentucky. Last year, Markey Research Day featured 142 posters and more than 350 attendees.
This year, Nobel Laureate Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, will present the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture. As always, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers will present the “State of the Cancer Center Address.”
Those interested may register and/or submit abstracts online. Deadline for the call for abstracts is Monday, March 17.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) — UK Women's Health Obstetrics & Gynecology has added an oncofertility specialist to its team. Dr. Leslie A. Appiah joins UK HealthCare as a board-certified gynecologist with expertise in oncofertility and fellowship training in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. Dr. Appiah brings five years of experience from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she served as director of oncofertility and fellowship director of pediatric and adolescent gynecology.
Appiah will serve as director of oncofertility at UK. She will work closely with subspecialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Appiah and her team will collaborate to preserve the fertility and reproductive health of pediatric, adolescent and adult cancer and blood disorder patients of all genders.
Dr. Appiah attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She completed her residency in OB-GYN at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and a clinical fellowship in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She has received several teaching awards including the Johns Hopkins Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Appiah’s interests include fertility preservation, minimally invasive surgery, congenital anomalies of the reproductive tract, hormone replacement therapy and endometriosis.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) -- Ann L. Coker, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and College of Medicine, is the recipient of a Visionary Voice Award, a national award that recognizes the creativity and hard work of individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to end sexual violence. The award is sponsored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
The award was presented to Coker by the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) at their Sexual Assault Awareness Month Awards Dinner on Feb. 26, 2014. The event followed a ceremony at the Kentucky State Capitol proclaiming March as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Coker says that she shares KASAP's vision that preventing sexual violence is possible and that public health approaches can play an important role.
"We are evaluating the first statewide, randomized intervention trial in 26 high schools across Kentucky," she said. "The intervention, Green Dot, is a bystander–based program to increase awareness of sexual violence and dating violence and empower high school students to safely and effectively intervene with their peers to change attitudes and behaviors and thereby reduce risk of violence. I am honored to have the opportunity to be a partner in this important research. Working on this project clarifies the importance of rigorous public health training and matched with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”
KASAP Executive Director Eileen Recktenwald says that it’s becoming easier for people to talk about sexual violence, and that is making a difference. “It’s gotten a lot easier to talk about, because – from the White House down – we are seeing a straightforward response to the problem,” she said.
Coker joined UK in 2007, when she became the inaugural Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women. She is nationally recognized as an expert on the effects partner violence on women’s health. Coker has worked extensively in the field of women’s health, particularly in areas of intimate partner violence, interventions to reduce the risk of violence that impact both men and women’s health, women’s chronic diseases, and reproductive and sexual health. Among other projects, she is currently investigating whether violence against women results in disparities in cancer care for women.
The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs is the coalition of Kentucky’s 13 Regional Rape Crisis Centers. The representatives of each of the 13 Rape Crisis Centers make up KASAP’s board of directors. Since it was established in 1990, KASAP has served as a central point of contact on sexual violence issues in Kentucky. KASAP provides technical assistance to member programs and other professionals, advocates for improvements in public policy, fosters coalition building among members and those with common concerns, and promotes prevention and public awareness regarding sexual violence and related issues.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 21, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and Markey Cancer Center announce the creation of the Center for Nanobiotechnology, which will be led by Peixuan Guo, UK’s William S. Farish Fund Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology.
Nanotechnology is the development and engineering of devices so small that they are measured on a nanometer scale. Nanoscale devices can work as parts of body organs, tissues, and drug carriers to interact with biomolecules on both the surface and inside cells. Because they have access to so many areas of the body, they have the potential to detect diseases and deliver treatments in newer and more effective ways.
The newly-established center will bring together biomedical experts working in nanobiotechnology in UK’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine. All faculty with research interests in nanobiotechnology, such as nanoscale biomaterials, nanobiomechanics, nanomedicine, nanodrug delivery, nanoimunology, nanophotonics, biomolecular imaging, micro- and nano-scale biosensors, biochips, and RNA nanotechnology, are invited to engage with the center.
MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, (859) 323-2396, or Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2014) – How would you react if you’d just been told you have cancer?
“You freak out,” said 57-year-old Tony Stone, a current patient at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. “You don’t know what to do.”
Stone, who hails from Liberty, Ky., came to Markey last fall after getting diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer at a local hospital. The diagnosis came just six months after he retired from a long career – 36 years – as an iron worker.
The timing wasn’t just poor because it put an end to Stone’s well-deserved break – it also meant a serious blow to his finances. Stone had elected to forego health insurance upon retirement because he couldn’t continue to afford the $900/month payments without his job.
Faced with what seemed like insurmountable expenses and a terminal disease, Stone made the initial trip to Markey on a friend’s recommendation. Though he knew to expect top-of-the-line medicine and treatment from the cancer center, he hadn’t expected the other aspect of cancer care he would receive at Markey – the emotional and personal support from Markey’s Psych-Oncology Services team.
Located on the third floor of Markey’s Whitney-Hendrickson building, the Psych-Oncology team is devoted to providing much-needed assistance to Markey’s patients. Every day, financial counselor Michele Ratcliffe, clinical dietitian Rachel Miller, American Cancer Society patient navigator Melanie Wilson, oncology social workers Jenny Delap and Angie Pennington, and licensed clinical social worker Joan Scales meet with new and ongoing patients to assess their needs on a more personal and emotional level.
In general, research shows that hospital patients who receive counseling and support for psychosocial distress have reduced hospitalizations, length of stays, physician visits, emergency department visits, and prescriptions. Markey’s Psych-Oncology team was assembled specifically to deal with the non-medical “side effects” of cancer – while oncologists, radiation medicine specialists and surgeons can recommend and perform specific medical treatments, this team focuses on fixing the everyday stressors that may impede a patient’s ability to get the full benefits of their medical care.
“The question we focus on is ‘What are the tangible, basic needs that we can get for the patient?’” said Delap.
For many patients, those needs includes assistance with paying for medication, getting insurance, creating a living will or an advanced directive, help with transportation or lodging costs, or referrals to national programs that may offer further assistance.
In Stone’s case, it first meant help with his finances – Delap helped him apply for disability and insurance coverage to help pay for the 35 radiation sessions and three rounds of chemotherapy he endured.
Because of the location of his cancer and subsequent radiation – the head and neck area – Stone was unable to physically eat his food during and following treatment, and a feeding tube was placed in his stomach. And that’s where Miller came in. As Markey’s dietitian, her job is to ensure that patients are getting the nutrition they need to stay strong through their treatments.
During her visits with patients, Miller counsels patients on what specific foods they should eat, how often to eat, and how to make foods taste better during chemotherapy (which can affect the taste buds, making previously appetizing foods seem bland or have an undesirable taste). Or, for patients like Stone, how to use the feeding tube and what to put in it for optimal caloric intake.
“Staying nourished can become a chore during cancer treatment, especially for patients who have lost their appetites or don’t feel well enough to eat,” Miller said. “It’s a catch-22, because you need to be fully nourished at the same time that you feel the least like eating.”
Sometimes, a patient’s needs are even more basic. Wilson, who is Kentucky’s only American Cancer Society patient navigator, said the first thing she was able to do for Stone was get him a bandanna to cover his head as his hair began to fall out. She often fulfills similar cosmetic requests by procuring wigs and other head coverings, or by referring patients to the ACS's Look Good... Feel Better program, which is facilitated on site by a licensed cosmetologist and helps patients combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Additionally, she makes patient referrals to a variety of services that can assist with funding transportation or lodging during treatment.
Wilson has fulfilled some unique requests in her time at Markey – including making sure that an out-of-town patient’s dog was taken care of during a long stay at the cancer center – but she says that any little thing she can do to help ease the patient’s mind during their time at Markey is worth it.
“It may not seem like much, but it’s one less thing for them to worry about,” she said.
But perhaps the most important thing the Psych-Oncology team offers is the simplest of all – an ear to listen. Collectively, the team agrees that they provide an opportunity for patients to talk about their individual situations with no judgment, and to make requests or ask questions that they might feel uncomfortable asking of their physicians or nurses. Both Delap and Pennington note that they make an estimated 35-40 contacts per week – they regularly check in through in-person visits, texts, and phone calls to make sure the patients are continuing to get what they need on every level throughout the treatment process and beyond.
“We get to know certain patients really well,” Delap said. “We provide an outlet for them, an extra person to lean on during a hard time.”
It was that level of personal support that made all the difference for Stone, a self-described “tough guy” who found himself initially overwhelmed by his grim diagnosis.
“They’ve been there for me when I was scared out of my mind,” Stone said. “You just don’t find this kind of caring people out there in the world… it takes a special kind of person to do this.”
For more information on the services and programs provided by Markey’s Psych-Oncology team, please contact supervisor Joan Scales at email@example.com.
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