Cancer Treatments Improving in Eastern Kentucky

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

September 5th, three major television networks joined together for "Stand Up to Cancer", an event to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

WYMT spoke with local patients about their battle with cancer here in eastern Kentucky.

Doctors at the Highlands Cancer Center say lung, cervical, and colon cancer are the most common types of cancer here in the mountains, but they also say treatment is improving across the country and here at home, allowing more people to win their battle with the disease.

Local doctors say patients no longer need to travel to Lexington or Louisville to get the treatment they need.

Nurse practitioner Stephanie Harless, "Most all of the radiation, chemo, whatever that they need to have their cancer treated, they can get it done right here locally without having to travel."

Some patients take the treatment in stride.

Breast cancer survivor Mary Cochran says, "It's a piece of cake! The radiation is, it's a piece of cake." She says Early detection can save your life. .

"It had been 5 years since I had a mammogram. Then I got a surprise when I found this," says Cochran.

"What hinders us here in eastern Kentucky is that we do have a high incidents in the cancers we just talked about, but then we have a decrease in awareness of all the screenings to prevent the spread of everything," says Harless.

Mary Pinks' was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis about two years ago, a hereditary, rare form of cancer that now runs her life.

"I didn't know I had it, and people need to be tested for it, because it's a deadly killer," says Pinks.

Pinks, like many survivors, says there are important reasons to fight cancer.

"I have a husband and a son and a family that I need to live for," says Pinks.

Highlands doctors say new technology is improving cancer survival rates across the country.

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