Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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Besides these services, patients may visit Kentucky CancerLink’s Regency Road office to receive wigs, mastectomy bras, prostheses and lymphedema garments to aid those who have localized swelling due to removal of lymph nodes, at no cost. During the pandemic, assistance has been offered over the phone and through mailing, to continue meeting patient needs.

Because Kentucky CancerLink’s dedication grows from the feedback received from patients, every word is seen in response to resources provided. The 501(c)3 nonprofit embraces the kind words, such as: “I am so pleased our state of KY has (Cancer Link),” Your agency… filled a need for me that is greatly appreciated,” “I don’t know what I would do without your help” and “I feel (KCL) has been part of the success with her cancer.” In gratitude and in honor of friends and family lost to cancer, communities across the commonwealth have stepped up in areas of support, even individuals have tirelessly hosted events to raise donations.

For this reason, the team at Kentucky CancerLink gives due diligence and beyond to find ways to serve the people. The core of this care comes from Certified Patient Navigators, who can determine programs for low- and no-cost screenings for breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer. Free in-home colon screening kits can be sent directly to patients.  Once kits being tested in the KCL on-site lab are processed, results are shared with the patient. If given permission, the outcome can be reported to the physician. For positive results, and the joint decision with physician, navigators will guide patients through the process with programs and partners providing colonoscopies.

One such program for eligible Kentuckians to receive no-cost colonoscopies is the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program (KCCSP), funded by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. In early 2019, Kentucky produced legislation that altered the guidelines for colon cancer screening to begin at age 45.  This program allows many to be screened, who otherwise would not.

In addition to colon cancer screenings, Kentucky CancerLink navigators can direct patients to free or low-cost breast and cervical screenings and offer enrollment of eligible participants into the Breast and Cervical Treatment Program, through partnership with the Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program. They also provide information for financial assistance, insurance concerns, durable medical equipment, and smoking cessation. All services are offered in a respectful and compassionate manner, while digging in deep with accuracy. Realizing Kentucky is a growing and diverse state, KCL has a bilingual navigator on staff, along with access to translation services for those with language barriers. “We try to look at the whole picture and always try to address the biggest need, but everywhere we can, we try to fill in other gaps as well,” Melissa shared.

Without a doubt, the battle against cancer can overshadow life as we know it. Kentucky CancerLink is ready to support you in this fight by removing barriers for cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. Their motto and hashtag- #Until there is a cure for cancer, Kentuckians need help today! Let them be your link for hope!   

Kentucky CancerLink (KCL) has been serving the commonwealth since 2008, by removing barriers for Kentuckians in need of cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.  Though Vicki Blevins-Booth lives by dreaming bold dreams, she may not have realized her dining room table office would impact the realm of cancer in Kentucky. What began as a mastectomy boutique, VDK Turning Point, providing wigs, mastectomy bras, prostheses and lymphedema garments, and then detection of breast cancer as Kentucky Pink Connection, has become a statewide support to those diagnosed with cancer, serve to eliminate obstacles a patient may face and advocate the receiving of evidence-based cancer screenings through Kentucky CancerLink.

Turning back the calendar to 2012, Melissa Karrer discovered Kentucky Pink Connection while searching for items needed after her own breast cancer treatment. It was then the link was established. Melissa started volunteering and the acquaintance grew into a friendship and working relationship.

Today, Melissa is the Executive Director for Kentucky CancerLink, as Vicki has moved into the role of Budget Director. The original vison was to create “a one-stop place people could call and be connected with different resources, whether it was being able to get the mastectomy items or if they needed resources for access to screening or help financially and other ways,” Melissa said.  


On the whole, the goals of the grassroots organization required more than breast cancer- specific funding to address Kentuckians’ hurdles with screening demands or cancer. They first expanded to helping ladies obtain cervical screening, and in 2013, to colon cancer screening in partnership with the Fayette County Health Department.

As a result, the tide shifted in favor of Kentucky CancerLink’s mission. In 2014, their Board voted for them to expand to serve all cancers. As long as the list of cancer types, is that of people wanting KCL to find hope in providing them or family members with all they require to overcome the battle with cancer. “It’s a balancing act at times, but we’ve been able to do the work we need to do,” Melissa assured.

In order to meet the needs of Kentuckians, partnerships have been developed between Kentucky CancerLink and health systems in Lexington and other key areas of the state. Social workers, free clinics, outreach efforts, social media and those previously served by KCL, in every county, make referrals for patients in need of cancer screenings, transportation to cancer-related appointments, and other personal needs.