Cancer center sees higher survival rates

By Anne Marie Sanderson

UK cancer physicians released new data regarding survival rates Tuesday morning that compared UK patients with others who were treated elsewhere in the state.

Markey Cancer Center patients have a significantly higher five-year survival rate than patients treated elsewhere, said Dr. Mark Evers, director of UK Markey Cancer Center, according to data released Tuesday.

Specific cancers with higher survival rates are brain, breast, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers, according to the data.

“There are two reasons for our higher survival rates,” Evers said, “One being for our staff and the other is that we are a major academic health center.”

The study also shows that Markey patients with brain, liver and prostate cancers show significantly higher five-year survival rates than patients treated nationally.

Specifically, data showed that the five-year survival rates were higher for ovarian by 23 percent; lung, 18 percent; brain, 36 percent; and stage IV colorectal cancer, 49 percent.

“We are grateful to hear these results, a lot of this success is due to early detection,” said Dr. John van Nagell, director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

Van Nagell said that the screening process for ovarian cancer is painless and only takes about five to 10 minutes. Simple screening processes like these have a major impact on the early detection and high five-year survival rates.

Suzi Shoemaker, an ovarian cancer survivor, was also present during the press conference. She was one of 37,000 enrolled in the ovarian screening program when diagnosed.

“My initial reaction after being diagnosed was fear — fear of the disease and treatment,” Shoemaker said. “All of my previous screens had been normal; I had always been a poster child for good health.”

Shoemaker has now been cancer free for five years with no reoccurrence, along with Roger Samples, a current lung cancer patient at the Markey Cancer Center.

Both patients agreed that the Markey Cancer Center doctors, surgeons and other staff went above and beyond their expectations.

Shoemaker and Samples said the center saved their lives.