June 4, 2023, is Rural Cancer Awareness Day!

The significance of June 4th as Rural Cancer Awareness Day is rooted in the story of Zack Schroeder, who was diagnosed with stage III melanoma on June 4th, his 21st birthday. Living in rural, Independence, Kansas, Zack traveled 900 miles to Houston, Texas, for his treatments, highlighting the burdens and barriers often faced by patients in rural communities. Just recently, Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed June 4, 2023, as Rural Cancer Awareness Day in the State of Kansas to be celebrated annually in hopes of bringing awareness to the issue and advocating for better access to care and support for those in rural areas battling cancer. Cancer Center of Kansas was able to collaborate care with MD Anderson Cancer Center, to provide Zack with the life-saving treatment needed and alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with having to travel for cancer care.

He is very thankful to CCK staff and providers Dr. Phu Truong and Valerie Davis, APRN, for not only offering access to good quality cancer care in his rural town of Independence, but also for CCK’s commitment to patients and the support he received throughout his battle. Zack is currently a third-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, Kansas. He has many career aspirations in the medical field, including caring for rural Kansas citizens, with a special interest in hematology and oncology.

For more history on Zack Schroeder’s story, please visit