Governor Laura Kelly Celebrates University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Recent National Cancer Institute Designation

~~Proclaims September “Comprehensive Cancer Centers Awareness Month~~

Governor Laura Kelly today joined leaders at the University of Kansas Cancer Center to proclaim September “Comprehensive Cancer Centers Awareness Month” in honor of the Cancer Center recently being awarded the highest level of recognition by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In addition to Comprehensive status, the KU Cancer Center was awarded a five-year, $13.8 million grant to support the Center’s research programs. 

“This proclamation celebrates that right here in Kansas, the University of Kansas Cancer Center is providing expert care and putting us on track to conquer cancer – the number one cause of death in our state,” said Governor Kelly. 

While emphasizing that cancer touches everyone, the Governor shared that her aunt passed away from breast cancer at 36 years old. 

“I can’t help feeling that if my aunt had been diagnosed today and had access to the cutting-edge research and treatment available at the KU Cancer Center, that she would have lived a good long life,” said Governor Kelly. “Thousands of people are alive today because of this world-class facility.” 

In 2020, Governor Kelly signed a budget that included $5 million for the KU Cancer Center Research Fund to further the Center’s application for the NCI designation. 

“The State of Kansas has been a longtime supporter of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. In 2007, the State established a line item in the state budget in support of cancer center obtaining National Cancer Institute designation. Their early support catalyzed the growth of the cancer center, and they have continued to be crucial partners over the years,” said Roy Jensen, M.D., Director of the KU Cancer Center. “We are enormously grateful to Governor Kelly, as well as our legislators, for their additional support beginning in 2020 that was instrumental in helping us achieve Comprehensive designation from the NCI.” 

The KU Cancer Center has drastically improved cancer care in Kansas. In 2004, 15 percent of Kansas left the state for cancer care. Today, only 7.5 percent do. 

“The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s successful effort to win Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute is the most significant achievement in Kansas public health in the last 50 years,” said Fred Logan, Chair of the Masonic Cancer Alliance Advisory Board, the KU Cancer Center’s outreach network. “The benefits to public health in our state will be enormous.  Yes, there will be advances in cancer care but there will also be public health advances that would not have been possible without the KU Cancer effort.” 

Governor Kelly also emphasized the Cancer Center’s economic impact on the state. Since beginning its work toward NCI Designation in 2007, the Center has contributed an estimated $2.5 billion to the region – adding to the Kelly Administration’s efforts to spur job creation and economic growth in Kansas. 

Photos from the event available for media use include: