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More about the UH Cancer Center

There has been some misinformation circulated about the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Learn more about the Cancer Center, its finances, its designation from the National Cancer Institute, and why that designation is important to the people of Hawaii.

Watch the webinar delivered by UH Cancer Center director Dr. Michele Carbone to the Hawaii Independent Physicians Association on why a designation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is important to Hawaii. (See Webinar)

Read more about the UH Cancer Center's NCI designation:

Comparison showing improved favorable NCI reviews of the Cancer Center in 2012 v. 2005 (See Slides)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the NCI designation (See FAQ)

List of people serving on the Cancer Center's NCI External Advisory Board (See the Roster)

Supporting Documents


Top Stories

August 21, 2013

University of Hawaii Cancer Center Researcher Identifies Association Between Healthy Diet and Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer
Study finds that higher intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of bladder cancer in women

Song-Yi Park, PhD
Song-Yi Park, PhD

HONOLULU, HI – University of Hawaii Cancer Center Researcher Song-Yi Park, PhD, along with her colleagues, recently discovered that a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of invasive bladder cancer in women.

The investigation was conducted as part of the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) Study, established in 1993 to assess the relationships among dietary, lifestyle, genetic factors, and cancer risk. Park and her fellow researcher’s analyzed data collected from 185,885 older adults over a period of 12.5 years, of which 581 invasive bladder cancer cases were diagnosed (152 women and 429 men).

After adjusting for variables related to cancer risk (age, etc.) the researchers found that women who consumed the most fruits and vegetables had the lowest bladder cancer risk.  For instance, women consuming the most yellow-orange vegetables were 52% less likely to have bladder cancer than women consuming the least yellow-orange vegetables. The data also suggested that women with the highest intake of vitamins A, C, and E had the lowest risk of bladder cancer. No associations between fruit and vegetable intake and invasive bladder cancer were found in men.

“Our study supports the fruit and vegetable recommendation for cancer prevention, said Park.  â€śHowever, further investigation is needed to understand and explain why the reduced cancer risk with higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was confined to only women.”

Their findings that greater consumption of fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of invasive bladder cancer among women are published in the August 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition. The study titled: Fruit and Vegetable Intakes Are Associated with Lower Risk of Bladder Cancer among Women in the Multiethnic Cohort Study can be found here:


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Event featured 'oli, hula, and maile lei ceremony.

HONOLULU – The sculpture and earthen artwork "Makawalu Vortex," designed by local artist Jerry Vasconcellos and located between the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center ("Cancer Center") and the John A. Burns School of Medicine ("JABSOM"), was dedicated on Thursday, June 19, at 10 a.m.

The program featured an 'oli presented by Meleanna Aluli Meyers, and followed by hula performed by Kumu Hula Leina'ala Kalama Heine's Halau Na Pualei o Likolehua. Cancer Center Director Dr. Michele Carbone emceed, and the speakers included David Lassner, president of the University of Hawaii; Jonathan Johnson, Executive Director, Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA), and Vasconcellos.

The artwork was designed by Vasconcellos to serve as a physical manifestation of the core mission of the UH Cancer Center – to ease suffering, to comfort, to heal, and to discover. The concept of makawalu, or "many eyes," is part of the Native Hawaiian orientation toward seeking the path to total awareness and synthesizing all that is learned into practical knowledge. The two pohaku from Kailua also portray a vortex that draws energy from the surrounding atmosphere and radiates that energy outward. Thus, the Makawalu Vortex is the artistic symbol of the UH Cancer Center, with its message of striving for excellence and healing energy.

The late Jeff Nakamura of Shimokawa + Nakamura Architects designed the Cancer Center building and wanted the artwork to be created by a Hawaii artist. He liked that the Makawalu Vortex was tied to a local legend that was forward looking, and that the sculpture might even outlast the building he designed.

"Jeff wanted the artwork to complement the UH JABSOM and Cancer Center facilities, pay homage to the Hawaiian culture, and help support our local artists," said Colin Shimokawa, Principal of Shimokawa + Nakamura, who designed the two campuses. "This is why the Makawalu Vortex sculptures, crafted of stone quarried in Kailua by local artist Jerry Vasconcellos, appealed very strongly to Jeff."

Dr. Carbone added, "Out of more than 250 proposals, this is the design that Jeff wanted, and I think he would be pleased to see it in place now in front of the beautiful Cancer Center he so brilliantly designed."

"The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts is honored to fulfill the objectives of the Art in Public Places Program with commissions like this one at the UH Cancer Center," said SFCA's Jonathan Johnson. "Makawalu Vortex is about seeing, opening our eyes and minds to possibilities. Broaden our views and we may find the answer where we least expect it."

Artist Jerry Vasconcellos describes his work with deep passion.

"My work is all about the material," said Vasconcellos. "To get a chance to celebrate stone on the scale that was necessary for a space like this was a challenge and a way to show homage. This stone, from the caldera of the Ko'olau, is the heart of the source. This is the same lava that formed Honolulu,that provided the run off to create Kaka'ako!

"When I think about research, teaching and learning effectively, I think about seeing things from multiple perspectives," he said. "The eyes are looking to the sources - the sky, the earth, the ocean, the sun, the people who work in this facility. They are looking at each other, as well, to search from within. I want the Makawalu Vortex to foster the open mindedness and wisdom of the search for the truth that will lead us to find answers by incorporating the power and energy of the land as a healing source in the form of the stones, and the power and energy of a double vortex to gather and focus energy."

ABOUT THE STATE FOUNDATION ON CULTURE AND THE ARTS The Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts was established by the Hawai'i State Legislature in 1965, to promote, perpetuate, preserve and encourage culture and the arts, history and the humanities as central to the quality of life of the people of Hawai'i. HSFCA funding is provided by the State of Hawai'i and the National Endowment for the Arts. Find out more at

ABOUT THE UH CANCER CENTER The UH Cancer Center is one of 68 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

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July 20, 2013

University of Hawaii Cancer Center Researchers Report New Findings Regarding E-Cigarette Use

Study finds that smokers who try e-cigarettes to quit are younger and more motivated to quit

HONOLULU, HI – University of Hawaii Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program researchers Pallav Pokhrel, PhD and Thaddeus Herzog, PhD have found that smokers who use e-cigarettes as a tool to stop smoking tend to be younger and more motivated to quit smoking as compared to other smokers.

Their study published online ahead of the print version in the American Journal of Public Health, found that approximately 13 percent of smokers had tried e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. They also found that smokers who had tried e-cigarettes for smoking cessation help were younger and had been smoking for fewer years compared to other smokers.

Pallav Pokhrel, PhD and Thaddeus Herzog, PhD
Pallav Pokhrel, PhD and Thaddeus Herzog, PhD

The Hawaii-based survey analyzed responses from self-identified smokers who had consumed at least three cigarettes per day and at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. The survey asked participants if they had ever used e-cigarettes to quit smoking and captured additional demographic information. The study also assessed participants’ nicotine dependence, number of quit attempts in the past, and motivation to quit smoking.

“If e-cigarettes are found to be relatively safer and effective as cessation aids, the appeal that they have for younger adults should be used to enhance smoking cessation among younger smokers,” said Dr. Pokhrel. “Conversely, if e-cigarettes are ineffective as cessation aids and are potentially a risk, strategies need to be developed to help younger smokers find effective cessation aids.”

The study also found that Native Hawaiians were significantly less likely to use e-cigarettes than whites. Smokers who had used nicotine replacement gum, patches, bupropion, or varenicline were 2 to 4 times more likely to have used e-cigarettes as cessation aids. Further analysis revealed that motivation to quit smoking was higher among those who tried e-cigarettes than those who tried other cessation aids such as nicotine replacement gum or patches.

“Despite the lack of firm evidence regarding safety or effectiveness, e-cigarettes appear to have become cessation aids of choice for some smokers who appear to show a relatively higher motivation to quit smoking,” said Dr. Herzog.  â€śThus, this study confirms the importance of promptly developing appropriate e-cigarette regulations that address smokers’ use of e-cigarettes as cessation products,” Herzog concluded.

An abstract and further information of the study can be found at the following link:

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