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Fort Logan, Ky. Health Collaborative hospitals join forces to decrease lung cancer mortality rates

By Andrea R. Slone

Kentucky Health Collaborative (KHC) Members have joined forces to bridge the gap between high-quality healthcare providers and services and the poor health outcomes of Kentuckians.

As a part of KHC’s mission to improve the quality of health in Kentucky, the KHC Executive Committee has prioritized the need to “reduce lung cancer mortality” as the KHC’s first collaborative effort to improving health outcomes in the Commonwealth. The KHC launched a Lung Cancer Screening, Detection, and Treatment Initiative with objectives to diagnose more lung cancer cases in earlier stages of disease, improve access and coordination of treatment, and decrease Kentucky’s lung cancer mortality rates. Key components of this initiative consist of screening and early detection, treatment and retention, improving areas of healthcare policy, data gathering, and prevention and awareness.

“KHC Members are dedicated to saving, extending, and improving the lives of patients in the Commonwealth,” David Zimba, KHC Managing Director stated. “Through the KHC Lung Cancer Screening, Detection, and Treatment Initiative our Members are joining together to care for those who are at risk and those who are diagnosed with lung cancer.”

Among the KHC Members joining forces to decrease lung cancer mortality rates are EMHFL Inc., d.b.a. Fort Logan Hospital, at 110 Metker Trail in Stanford, James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital Inc., d.b.a. Ephraim McDowell James B. Haggin Hospital, at 464 Linden Avenue in Harrodsburg and Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Inc., located at 217 S. 3rd Street, Danville.

Listed below are a few crucial facts that you should know about lung cancer:

• Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and kills more Americans than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. The rate of new lung cancer cases in Kentucky is significantly higher than the national average; ranking Kentucky 51st among all states, including the District of Columbia;

• The use of combustible cigarettes is the leading cause of lung cancer.  In Kentucky, there are approximately 809,500 adults using combustible cigarettes (approximately 23.4% of the adult population);

• Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer by 20% to 30%;

• The CDC reported that in 2016 there were 4,761 cases and 3,328 deaths resulting from Lung and Bronchus Cancers in Kentucky. In 2019, an estimated 3,290 Kentuckians lost their lives to lung cancer;

• A Patient’s timing of lung cancer diagnosis and prompt treatment of the disease are critical to their survival. Patients diagnosed at early stages of lung cancer are five times more likely to survive; unfortunately, only 16% of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. In Kentucky, 18.1% of lung cancer cases receive an early diagnosis; 52.5% of lung cancer cases are not caught until a late stage; at which time, the 5-year survival rate is only 3.2%.

These facts serve as a strong reminder that lung cancer awareness and taking preventative actions (such as annual health and cancer screenings) to lower your risk of developing lung cancer are critical to help change the overall course of lung cancer in our communities.

“We believe in the power of early detection through lung cancer screening.  By working together, we are determined to reduce lung cancer mortality in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Mark Newman, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at UK HealthCare and CEO Sponsor of the KHC Lung Cancer Screening, Detection, and Treatment Initiative.

During the month of January most people set New Year resolutions to become more physically fit and active. While these are great goals to have, we should continuously make every effort to prevent disease; this includes ensuring that you receive all preventative exams and screenings; including an annual lung cancer screening (if you meet the screening criteria).  The USPSTF (United States Preventative Services Task Force) recommends an annual screening for lung cancer (with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)) for adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years).

It is estimated that there are more than 170,000 Kentuckians who may be eligible for a lung cancer screening today. KHC Members encourage at risks persons to reach out to their healthcare providers to learn if they are eligible for and in need of a lung cancer screening. Take-action today and contact your healthcare provider to learn more about lung cancer screening and cancer prevention.

About the Kentucky Health Collaborative

The Kentucky Health Collaborative (“KHC”), formed in 2016, is a healthcare organization comprised of ten (10) leading healthcare systems, representing (60) sixty hospitals across Kentucky as well as locations in Indiana and West Virginia. Members include Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Baptist Health, Ephraim McDowell Health, LifePoint Health, Med Center Health, Norton Healthcare, Owensboro Health, St. Claire HealthCare, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and UK HealthCare.  Together these organizations seek to serve patients across the Commonwealth by providing a full complement of community, tertiary, and quaternary healthcare services in ambulatory and hospital settings.  Based on a triple-aim approach, the KHC Members work collaboratively together to identify cost savings opportunities, address areas of healthcare reform, and improve health outcomes for the citizens of the communities they serve. Approximately 55 percent of all health care services provided in the Commonwealth is done so through KHC Members. For questions about the KHC and the KHC Lung Cancer Screening, Detection, and Treatment Initiative, please contact Andrea R. Slone, Manager, Clinical & Advocacy Programs at (859) 286-3107.