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July 20, 2016

Remembering U.S. Rep. K. Mark Takai

It is with great sadness that we note the death of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Takai was a champion for cancer research and Hawai'i.

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In a message just weeks ago, he shared his support for the Cancer Moonshot Summit at Kakaʻako.

His message read, "I will never forget receiving the news that I had a tumor in my pancreas. Now that I am fighting my own battle with pancreatic cancer, I am truly fortunate and grateful that there are those who have devoted their lives to finding a cure. Each breakthrough in cancer research leads us one step closer to ending cancer."

We at the University of Hawaiʻi are committed to continuing our efforts to find more effective treatments and earlier detection methods for cancers including those of the pancreas.

Every year in Hawaiʻi, there are about 225 newly diagnosed cases of the devastating disease and some 182 deaths. (Source: Hawaii Tumor Registry data from 2009-2013)

Pancreatic cancer is more common with increasing age and slightly more common in men than women, according to National Institutes of Health.

The thoughts of us at the UH Cancer Center and John A. Burns School of Medicine are, first and foremost, with Rep. Takaiʻs loving family and friends.

Inspired anew by Congressman Takaiʻs support while on Capitol Hill, we will never give up the battle to eliminate cancer.

As the congressman said earlier this year, when he announced that the UH Cancer Center and JABSOM were awarded Department of Defense (DoD) grants for cancer research and career development,

"… I have a strong appreciation for the dedicated researchers that are working towards a cure," said Takai.

Mahalo and Aloha, Congressman Takai.