The University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and Lung Cancer Alliance announce the Kentucky LEADS (Lung Cancer. Education. Awareness. Detection. Survivorship) Collaborative, a project that will focus on reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky. Kentucky has more cases of lung cancer than any other state and its lung cancer mortality rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.
The Kentucky LEADS Collaborative is a first of its kind project that brings together an interdisciplinary team of community partners and lung cancer prevention and control experts to assess novel approaches for identifying lung cancer earlier to improve survival. The project will also develop and evaluate interventions to improve quality of life and survivorship for individuals with lung cancer and their caregivers. These efforts are supported through a $7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care™ initiative.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and kills more Americans than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. In Kentucky, the burden of this illness is even more dramatic and will take over 3,500 lives this year alone.
The first component of the program, provider education, led by Connie Sorrell of the Kentucky Cancer Program West and Dr. Goetz Kloecker at the University of Louisville, will review the practice patterns and factors affecting referral and treatment of lung cancer patients across the state. Primary care providers play a key role in the management of lung cancer, and this component of the project will familiarize them with best practices in caring for patients who are at high risk of developing lung cancer or are diagnosed with the disease.
Students will lead the second component of the project, which will develop a lung cancer-specific survivorship program that promotes quality of life and well-being for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer, as well as their caregivers, throughout the continuum of the disease. This will include care that addresses a combination of acute and late or long-term effects of the illness and treatment. Studts and his team will also develop a training program for lung cancer navigators and mental health providers to sustainably administer the survivorship program to patients and caregivers statewide.
Lung Cancer Alliance will partner with UK on the survivorship and screening components of the project, contributing to program design, administration, communications support and dissemination.