University of Hawaii at Manoa Homepage

News Release

February 07, 2017

HONOLULU – Native Hawaiian women and men have the highest cancer mortality rate according to Hawai'i Cancer at a Glance 2009-2013, the latest statewide cancer data released by the Hawai'i Tumor Registry (HTR) of the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center. Cancer incidence and death varies substantially across Hawai'i's five largest racial and ethnic groups (Chinese, Filipinos, Native Hawaiians, Japanese, and Whites).

"Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in Hawai'i. Native Hawaiian men and women have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates in the state," said Dr. Brenda Hernandez, principal investigator of the Hawai'i Tumor Registry. "It is critical that we maintain and evaluate Hawai'i's cancer data, so we can continue to address the ethnic and racial disparities here in our communities."

"The HTR's Cancer at a Glance allows us and other organizations in our state to do research specific to the needs of our residents in Hawai'i and the Pacific," said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center director. "Over the past 30 years cancer mortality rates have steadily decreased in both men and women in Hawai'i. We want to make sure less people die from this disease."

From 2004-2013 significant changes in Hawai'i were identified for certain cancers
  • Over the past decade (2004 to 2013), overall cancer incidence declined (1.6 percent per year) in men and increased (0.4 percent per year) in women; overall cancer mortality rates decreased in both men and women.
  • Cancers of the thyroid, kidney and renal pelvis, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, myeloma, soft tissue (including heart), leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and pancreas increased among men and women. In addition, cancer of the testis increased among men and cancers of the breast, lung & bronchus, uterus/endometrium, vulva, and anus as well as melanoma increased among women.
Overview of Cancer in Hawai'i
  • Each year, approximately 6,700 Hawai'i residents are diagnosed with invasive cancer.
  • More than 2,200 Hawai'i residents die of cancer each year.
  • Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death (after cardiovascular disease) in Hawai'i residents.
  • In 2016, there were more than 58,000 Hawai'i residents living with cancer including those newly diagnosed and those diagnosed with invasive cancer in the past.
Top Cancers in Hawai'i
  • The most common cancer in men is prostate cancer, which accounts for 22 percent of cases, followed by cancers of the lung & bronchus, colon & rectum, melanoma of the skin, and bladder tumors. In women, breast cancer is the most common cancer, comprising 33 percent of cases, followed by cancers of the lung and bronchus, colon and rectum, uterus/ endometrium, and thyroid.
  • The leading cause of cancer mortality in men and women is lung & bronchus cancer.
Comparison of cancer in Hawai'i and the U.S.
  • In 2009-2013, Hawai'i incidence rates were significantly higher than the U.S. overall for cancers of the breast, colon and rectum, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, pancreas, stomach, thyroid, and uterus/endometrium.
  • In 2009-2013, mortality rates for cancers of the liver & intrahepatic bile duct, thyroid, and stomach were significantly higher in Hawai'i compared to the U.S. overall.
  • Among all U.S. states, Hawai'i ranks number one for stomach cancer incidence and mortality, number one for thyroid cancer mortality, and number two for liver & intrahepatic bile duct cancer incidence.

Hawai'i Tumor Registry
The HTR is one of only 20 National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Programs nationwide. SEER is the premier source for cancer statistics in the United States. The HTR provides complete and confidential cancer reporting for the entire state as experts in collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating reliable population-based statistics. The data published by HTR are published and used for local, national and international research efforts. The Registry's database contains more cancer cases of Native Hawaiians than any other registry nationwide. The racially-diverse and unique population resource has been invaluable in demonstrating ethnic variations in cancer incidence and survival.

"A registry since 1960, the HTR has played a vital role in cancer control and research efforts in Hawai'i by monitoring cancer trends over time, and identifying variations in cancer risk across the multi-ethnic populations of the state," said Michael Green, Hawai'i Tumor Registry project director.

View HTR cancer booklet

View Star Advertiser article

View KITV4

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 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 www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

Back»

News Release

October 11, 2016

$50,000 GIFT INSPIRED BY FATHER FUNDS CANCER RESEARCH

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center celebrated CoolingCancer.org's $50,000 gift raised with proceeds from a golf tournament.

Smartphone App

"Losing my Dad to cancer was a life changing moment for me, and many families have similar stories," said Andrew Santos, CoolingCancer.org president. Santos continued, "I chose to support the UH Cancer Center after learning that it is a world-class facility with outstanding researchers right here in Hawai'i. We can choose to do nothing, or take action to do something to help eradicate this disease."

Over the last three years the local nonprofit has donated a total of $150,000 to support cancer research at the UH Cancer Center.

"We are very grateful for their support. The gifts help our researchers continue working on life-saving treatments for those in our communities who are affected by this devastating disease," said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center director.

Smartphone App

Cooling Cancer
CoolingCancer.org is a non-profit organization established in October 2013 to raise money for cancer research and patients in Hawai'i.

The UH Cancer Center has many dedicated funds for cancer-related research projects, such as those focusing on lung, liver, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

If you have a specific area of interest you would like to support, please contact Todd Cullison at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or T 808-356-5757. You can also make a gift at www.uhfoundation.org/givetocancercenter

For additional photos from the event, click here

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises private gifts, manages assets, and provides alumni and donor services for all ten campuses of the UH System. www.uhfoundation.org

Back»

News Release

November 7, 2016

UH Cancer Center Reaches Major Milestones and Welcomes New Director

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center welcomed its new Director, Dr. Randall Holcombe on Monday, November 7. The Center also celebrated its 45th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of its National Cancer Institute designation with a "University of Hawaii Cancer Center Day" proclamation presented by Governor David Ige.

"The Cancer Center is really a unique Hawaiʻi institution. It's different than other cancer centers across the country. It focuses on the cancer problems of the people of Hawaiʻi," said Dr. Randall Holcombe.

The UH Cancer Center is one of only 69 cancer centers in the United States with a National Cancer Institute designation, and the only one in Hawai'i and the Pacific. Since the Center was founded in 1971, thousands of Hawai'i residents have been able to participate in UH Cancer Center coordinated clinical trials.

"For 45 years now the Cancer Center has contributed to the health of our residents by providing research and access to clinical trials, which offer innovative life saving treatments that would not otherwise be available to our community here in Hawai'i," said Governor David Ige.

"It's clear to those of us who have worked with him that Randy is the right person to lead us in the polishing of this jewel in the University of Hawai'i and the Pacific," said David Lassner, president of the University of Hawai'i.

Dr. Holcombe plans to take the lead in the UH Cancer Center's mission to reduce the burden of cancer in our communities through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural and environmental characteristics of Hawai'i and the Pacific.

"The welcome that I have received from the Cancer Center faculty, from the University, from all of the people of Hawai'i has really been outstanding. My wife and I feel so welcomed to be here on the islands, we're very honored. Thank you very much."

Speakers
Joe W. Ramos, UH Cancer Center Deputy Director
Governor David Ige, proclamation presentation
Representative Scott Saiki
Darlena Chadwick, Queen's Medical Center Vice President of patient care
Randy Moore, University of Hawai'i Board of Regents Vice Chair
David Lassner, University of Hawai'i President
Dr. Jerris Hedges, John A. Burns School of Medicine Dean
Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center Director

The event included a blessing by Kahu Kelekona Bishaw and performances by Wahine Hula Akala, UH Cancer Center study participants.

Photos: http://owl.li/oYdO305X61R

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 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 www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

Back»

News Release

September 6, 2016

UH CANCER CENTER STUDIES BEST WAY TO REDUCE ABDOMINAL FAT TO LOWER CANCER RISK

HONOLULU – A new University of Hawai'i Cancer Center study will research if specific changes in dietary habits, along with daily exercise, can reduce the amount of fat inside the abdomen to potentially decrease the risk for cancer and other diseases.

"The results from the study will help physicians develop better guidelines to get individuals to maintain or regain a healthy weight and lifestyle," said Dr. Kevin Cassel, an assistant professor in the UH Cancer Center's Prevention and Control Program.

Abdominal fat increases the risk of a number of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, including those of the colon, liver, pancreas and breast. In Hawai'i, certain ethnic groups that tend to store fat inside the abdomen are also experiencing higher rates of these very same diseases.

"Through our past research we have found that Asian men and women have a tendency to store body fat around and within internal abdominal organs," said Dr. Loïc Le Marchand, a professor in the UH Cancer Center's Epidemiology Program. "It could be particularly beneficial to implement the novel weight loss intervention among Japanese, Chinese and Koreans who do have high abdominal fat amounts."

For more information about the study call 808-237-3901 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care.
Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

Back»