Cancer in Kentucky

World Cancer Day is February 4th

February 4th, 2018 is World Cancer Day. The day is part of a three year campaign to reach and impact those affected by cancer. The goal of the movement is to raise awareness about the disease, and to also encourage individuals to take action in their own lives and in their communities. According to the movement’s website,

“Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer.”

There are several big and small ways to get involved on World Cancer Day, including adopting healthier lifestyle habits as well as posting on social media. For more information about World Cancer Day, visit

October is Health Literacy Month

Experts say many Kentuckians do not know screening recommendations and have low health literacy overall.  Shortages of doctors and cancer screening and treatment facilities make things worse.  A workforce capacity study conducted for the state by Deloitte Consulting in 2013 found that Kentucky needed 3790 more doctors just to meet  demand and would need many more by 2017.  →Only 81.6% of Kentucky women 21-65 years old got a Pap smear in the past 3 years, compared with 90% in states with the best rates.  →Kentucky has the highest rates of lung cancer and colon cancer in the US, according to the CDC.  →Kentucky also has high rates of prostate cancer and skin cancer.  For more information go to the Kentucky Cancer Consortium or the Kentucky Cancer Program.  For information on cancer rates in your county click here.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 92.4 out of every 100,000 people in Kentucky have lung cancer compared with 60.4 nationally.  Mortality per 100,000 is 68.8, around 120 in the Appalachain counties, compared with 45 nationally.  Most lung cancers do not cause symptoms, so people do not know they are sick until the disease has spread so far they cannot be cured.  Until recently, there has been no screening test, and today's preventive low-dose CT scans for longtime smokers are far less routine than tests like mammograms or colonoscopies and are not always covered by private insurance.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the American Cancer Society, 46.8% of Kentucky women over 40 got a mammogram and clinical breast exam compared with around 60% in states with the best rates.  The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, about 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers are found in women younger than 45, while about 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older. Eighty percent (80%) of breast cancers are invasive, meaning cancer cells from inside milk ducts or lobules break out into nearby tissues. Men can develop breast cancer, but it’s about 100 times more common among women than men. Approximately, 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary.  For more information click here.
What should you do?

  • If you are at risk for breast cancer due to personal history, family history, or have signs and symptoms seek assistance from a health care provider
  • Women ages 40 to 44, should have annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms
  • Women ages 45 to 54, should get mammograms every year
  • Women age 55 and older, should have mammograms every 2 years or have a choice to continue annually

Women should become familiar with doing their own detections at home and become proactive with preventative measures and treatments by seeking advice from a health care provider.

To find a support group near you click here or here or call 1-800-227-2345.

***The information provided on the KCHC website is provided as an informational resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

***Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The KCHC expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, or injury whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information received from the KCHC website. KCHC does not endorse specifically any information item, test, treatment, or procedure mentioned in the KCHC website.