Kentucky has more cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths than any other state in the nation, and most of these cases are concentrated in the fifty-four counties that constitute the Appalachian region of the commonwealth. These high rankings can be attributed to factors such as elevated smoking rates, unhealthy eating habits, lower levels of education, and limited access to health care. What is lost in the statistics is just how life-changing cancer can be—something that editors Nathan L. Vanderford, Lauren Hudson, and Chris Prichard have endeavored to address.
The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia features essays written by a group of twenty high school and five undergraduate students, all of whom are residents of Kentucky's Appalachian region and are participants in the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) program, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute's Youth Enjoy Science Program. These authentic and candid student essays detail the effects of cancer diagnoses and deaths on individuals, families, friends, and communities, and proclaim these cases as more than nameless statistics. The authors shed light on personal cancer stories in hopes of inspiring readers to avoid cancer-risk behaviors, get involved with cancer-prevention initiatives, give generously, and uplift cancer patients and their loved ones.
"By capturing the voices of young Appalachians who aspire to oncology careers, The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia delivers the message that this 'persistently cruel' disease, as a Clay County author describes it, grips our state like no other in the nation. The book is an inspiring call to action by students who are devoting their futures to ridding their communities of the scourge of cancer."~Tom Martin, host of Eastern Standard on WEKU, NPR for Central and Eastern Kentucky
"A must-read for all Kentuckians, this book offers a perspective grounded not in statistics but in the firsthand experiences of young Kentuckians who have grown up in a state ravaged by cancer. More importantly, it offers hope, showcasing a generation of young minds who have been inspired by their personal experiences to pursue careers in medicine, seeking to improve the lives of those in their own communities."~B. Mark Evers, MD, Director, Markey Cancer Center