Kentucky and Louisville Universities Join Efforts in Kentucky LEADS Collaborative

Kentucky and Louisville Universities Join Efforts in Kentucky LEADS Collaborative

shutterstock_3235232The universities of Kentucky and Louisville and the Lung Cancer Alliance have announced they are forming the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative (Lung Cancer. Education. Awareness. Detection. Survivorship), a first-of-its-kind project focusing on early lung cancer detection, in an effort to improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers in Kentucky.

The Kentucky LEADS Collaborative will gather a team of lung cancer prevention and control experts to study new ways of identifying lung cancer at an early stage in an effort to improve overall patient survival rates.

The project will be funded with a $7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Bridging Cancer Care.

“As Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer mortality rates, we must step up to be a leader in finding solutions toward preventing, curing and coping with this destructive disease”, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said in a Lung Cancer Alliance press release.  “I strongly support this collaborative, wide-ranging effort as it coincides with this administration’s KyHealthNow goals of reducing statewide cancer and smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019.  By working together, we can and will find a way to diminish the burden of this crisis in Kentucky.”

Lung cancer rates in Kentucky seem to be more dramatic than in other U.S. states, with 3,500 deaths resultant from this disease expected by the end of 2014.

“Historically there’s not been a lot of research or effort put into lung cancer survivorship because, unfortunately, there hasn’t been much survivorship,” Jamie Studts, PhD, associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky and director of the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative added in the news release. “This project is an effort across several domains to help providers, patients, caregivers and health care programs do the best job possible to achieve better care and increase lung cancer survivorship.”

Statistics show that 1 in 2 patients diagnosed with lung cancer will not survive past the first year after diagnosis, and only 16 in 100 patients will be alive after 5 years. “The timing of diagnosis is critical. Patients diagnosed at Stage 1 have a 57 percent chance of achieving five-year survival. That drops to 4 percent when patients have a late-stage diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of lung cancer, combined with education and patient support, is key to increased survival for patients living with lung cancer.”John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation explained.

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