Cancer Roundtable Hopes to Change Lung Cancer Care in Kentucky
On April 30, health care providers and administrators from across northeastern Kentucky met at the Center for Health Education & Research in Morehead to discuss lung cancer, a disease that affects too many eastern Kentucky residents. Hosted by the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center through a grant from the George Washington Cancer Institute, the event’s mission was to increase integration of cancer and chronic disease efforts through collaboration and strengthening relationships at the community, state and regional level.
One of three events to be held over the next three years, the day began with presentations from leading Kentucky physicians to discuss current statistics and research related to lung cancer. During the afternoon, the assembly of more than 30 health care advocates broke out into small groups to discuss plans on addressing issues most critical to our area. These workgroups set specific goals and objectives to work toward and the NE KY AHEC will follow up with each group in six months to check on progress. Group topics included smoking cessation, lung cancer screenings, and stress reduction and lifestyle approaches.
“Kentucky has an unusually high rate of tobacco use, and a population that resists routine medical treatment at primary care facilities,” said KaSandra Hensley, education coordinator for the NE KY AHEC. “Our hope is that these brainstorming sessions will not only encourage collaboration among health care providers, but lead to plans on addressing problem areas and reducing lung cancer deaths.”
The NE KY AHEC is one of only four regional AHECs in the nation selected by the George Washington Cancer Institute to host a comprehensive cancer roundtable series. Comprehensive cancer control is an integrated and coordinated approach to reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality through prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation. Lung cancer, especially prevalent in eastern Kentucky, has a very high mortality rate, and is particularly difficult to fight due to cultural and regional factors.