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Kentucky Cancer Survivorship study aims to learn from cancer survivors across the state

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This year in Kentucky, more than 30,000 Kentuckians will be diagnosed with cancer. June is Cancer Survivor Awareness Month, a time set aside to celebrate the fight and courage those diagnosed with cancer have in fighting their disease.

In this Link to Hope, we look into how one Kentucky researcher hopes to use a new study to learn from those who have beat or are living with cancer.

Over the years, WKYT’s Amber Philpott has shared countless stories of people diagnosed with cancer, including one of her own father’s journey with lung cancer in 2015.

It is a story that also hit close to WKYT evening news anchor Sam Dick.

“To me it’s a defining moment in someone’s life because at that instant when you hear those words ‘we have found something,’ which is what they said to me, your life changes forever,” said Sam Dick.

Diagnosed in 2013 with prostate cancer, Sam is now a survivor, a title he shares with so many other Kentuckians.

“It’s a blessing because you know there are a lot of people out there that have cancer that may not have had the situation you had,” said Dick.

A survivor is defined as someone living with, through or beyond a diagnosis. In Kentucky there are some 240,000 cancer survivors.

It’s a population University of Louisville researcher Dr. Stephanie Boone hopes to learn from.

Boone, like a lot of us, has also had cancer hit close to home.

“So having that experience as well as my professional experience, knowing that cancer touches everyone and it touches every community, is something that fuels my passion for cancer survivorship research,” said Dr. Stephanie Boone.

Dr. Boone is part of a team behind at the Kentucky Cancer Survivorship study, where she hopes to reach out to survivors all across the state.

“So on a large scale we hope to really understand how cancer impacts the lives of cancer survivors today in Kentucky,” said Dr. Boone.

The online survey, open to adults 18 and over, asks questions about your emotional, physical and mental health through your cancer journey both during and after treatment.

“What’s important to understand is that there are side effects from treatment and there are also mental and emotional milestones that people may go through after cancer and that may last for years to come and it may evolve over time. So, I think a study like this really tries to understand what some of the things are that people need as time goes on,” said Dr. Boone.

Dr. Boone hopes the data collected will be useful for others diagnosed in the future and can be another link to hope in helping organizations like Kentucky CancerLink better serve their clients and help them find the resources they need.

“Having this data is going to be key in moving the conversation forward and trying to think through what some of those unmet needs in survivor populations in Kentucky are,” said Dr. Boone.

The Kentucky Cancer Survivorship study will be up until October.

If you choose to take part in the study, your information will be kept confidential.

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