Open Mics with Doctor Stites 6-22-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


     The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 29 COVID patients today, up from 22 Monday. Other significant numbers:

  • 19 with the active virus today, 15 Monday
  • 1 in ICU, 1 Monday
  • 1 on ventilator, 1 Monday
  • 10 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, 7 Monday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Priyanka Sharma, breast cancer oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Discussed biggest cancer meeting in the world, American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Biggest development is in what’s called smart chemotherapy, which attaches directly to the cancer cell to deliver the medicine, and has improved overall survival rates
  • This type of chemotherapy is better tolerated because it does not attack good cells and tissue along with the cancer
  • Calls this an “exciting time” in cancer treatment with so many advances in the last decade and more personalized drugs rather than the “shotgun approach” of the past

Dr. Roy Jensen, vice chancellor and director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Cancer is actually thousands of different diseases. It’s a really tough opponent because it’s always changing shape and adapting to therapies.
  • Cancer mortality has decreased while the number of cancer patients is increasing
  • Calls this the “dawn of an era” in cancer treatment in which 10 to 15 years from now all cancer medicine will be targeted and personalized for the individual patient
  • Looking forward to renewing National Cancer Institute designation this year for The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Jennifer Klemp, PhD, Cancer Survivorship director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Patients and doctors are excited because we are getting away from one size fits all cancer care
  • The two best ways to avoid cancer are to get screened early, even if you’re perfectly healthy, and focus on diet and exercise. All of us have some risk for cancer.
  • HPV vaccine is a perfect example of a preventive treatment that has lowered cervical cancer
  • Genetic testing can be important when there is a family history of cancer

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • COVID cases are up in the health system, but nationally they are plateauing or dropping.
  • Not seeing a huge surge like with delta and omicron
  • Current vaccines and boosters are the original formulation, which still protects very well
  • Vaccines with updated formulation to fight later variants may come this fall

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Even though we are seeing more COVID transmission now than during the delta surge, the death rate is the lowest it’s been during the entire pandemic
  • We all hope COVID will just go away, but it won’t. Constant vaccination and immunity from the disease will keep the death rate low.
  • “We continue to build the airplane while we fly it, but we’re a little better pilots than we once were back at the beginning of this.”
  • Says it’s “an amazing time to be in medicine,” especially when research delivers hope that wasn’t there the day before

Friday, June 24 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. We’ll look at the state of COVID in Kansas City with guests Mayor Quinton Lucas and Dr. Marvia Jones, director of the Kansas City Health Department. Tomorrow, join us for the episode in which area news leaders talk about how they all handled covering the pandemic for the last two-plus years and the lessons they learned.


ATTENTION: media procedure for joining:

Zoom link:

Telephone Zoom link: 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID: 782 897 8628

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