A look inside Kentucky CancerLink

Link to Hope
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 7:19 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This year thousands of new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Kentucky, with lung and breast cancer at the top of the list.

WKYT is partnering with Kentucky CancerLink, a nonprofit that works to help fight cancer in the state and raise awareness. In this Link to Hope story, we are taking you inside Kentucky CancerLink to learn more about the services offered.

At Kentucky CancerLink, the door at the Lexington office leads to critical work being done to save lives.

“It started out with just serving breast cancer patients, but seeing the need grow regardless of where the cancer is in the body, the needs are the same,” said Melissa Karrer, Executive Director.

Founded in 2008, Kentucky CancerLink is in the business of helping people get access to life-saving cancer screenings. Dr. Daniel Kenady, a board member says what Kentucky CancerLink does is critical.

“I think people tend to put things off unless they are pushed a little bit, or have someone say listen you really need to do this because in the long run you will be ahead. You really don’t want to get these diseases when they are late stage,” said Dr. Daniel Kenady.

For many, the cost of a screening is a huge barrier. Kentucky CancerLink works with a number of health partners to remove that barrier and connect people with those screenings.

Early detection, Dr. Kenady says, is key in many cancers, including colon cancer.

“Colon screenings is the one cancer where you can actually prevent the cancers. You can actually take polyps off that would have gone on when they are an inch or so in diameter to become cancerous,” said Kenady.

And it’s not just screenings, Kentucky CancerLink is also there if a diagnosis is made.

“It can be needing a wig or a bra prosthesis, lymphedema garments, gas cards or just connection to other resources in their communities that we can be advocates for,” said Melissa Karrer.

For Executive Director Melissa Karrer, it’s personal. She’s an eight-year breast cancer survivor and first came to Kentucky CancerLink as a volunteer.

“I had the resources needed such a childcare and being able to get to my treatments and to know there are folks that aren’t able to have those things is kind of unacceptable to me,” said Karrer.

The goal at Kentucky CancerLink is to be a link-- a link to information, resources and ultimately the link to hope that you can, and will, beat cancer.

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