UK program training future cancer fighters

UK Markey Cancer Center LOW-RES

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- The cancer rate among Kentuckians is ranked first in the national when it comes to overall cancer incidence and mortality.

The biggest disparity of cancer victims is in the Appalachian region of the state where other issues including lower education rates and lower socioeconomic status, compared to other parts of the country, compound the problem.

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A select group of students at the Career Training in Oncology Program (CTOP) at UK Markey Cancer Center are looking to make a difference in Kentucky’s major health issues by

CTOP was launched in 2016 out of a $200,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

This two year training program is designed to prepare UK undergrads to pursue cancer-focused careers and provide students with research and clinical experience.

The CTOP program offers specific, real-world training to the upcoming generation of healthcare providers, researchers, and education specialists.

Students enrolled in the program can start as early as the first freshman semester.

Themes of community and outreach are prevalent within the CTOP program, so volunteer work and outreach is an essential component of the curriculum and provided students with a firsthand look at how their future work will impact the community.

Many of the students in the program didn’t realize how severe of a problem cancer was for Appalachian residents, so by helping students understand the extent of the issue, the program will instill a drive to combat the disease.

The grant from the National Cancer Institute funded CTOP for two years and now Nathan Vanderford, assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine and director of CTOP, plans to keep the program alive by acquiring additional funding and community support.

Vanderford, created a crowd funding campaign until grant funds are obtained.

If you wish to support this program, you can get more information and donate at