BY FLORLYN TAFLINGER – Over 6,000 people in Hawai‘i are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Hawai‘i; more than 2,000 people die from the disease annually.

Today, the Hawai‘i Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition unveiled a new publication, Hawai‘i Cancer Facts & Figures 2010, which outlines cancer’s devastating effect on people of all ages, genders, demographics, and ethnicities.

In Hawai‘i, the lowest cancer incidence rates are seen among Filipino and Chinese females. Native Hawaiians have the highest incidence rate, followed by Whites. Among males, Whites have the higher incidence rates followed by Japanese.

In terms of cancer deaths, among both males and females, Native Hawaiians and Whites have the highest mortality for all cancer sites combined. “Everyone in Hawai‘i, at some time, will be touched by cancer, whether it is their own personal struggle or supporting and caring for loved ones battling against the disease,” said Health Director Chiyome Fukino, M.D.

“The good news is that every year, the number of cancer survivors in our state increases, due largely to the timely use of new cancer screening methods, the discovery of innovative treatment options and more effective medications, but there is still much to be done in cancer control.”

The Hawaii Cancer Facts & Figures 2010 is a collaborative effort of the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research Center of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i State Department of Health and is intended as a tool for public health education, research, and planning.

The coalition also unveiled the Hawai`i State Cancer Plan 2010-2015, an action plan to reduce the burden of cancer in Hawai‘i developed by key stakeholders working together in a coordinated, comprehensive, statewide approach. It is intended to guide cancer control and prevention efforts throughout the state. The plan organizes partners’ objectives under four major goals:

·Prevent future cancers by reducing exposure to known factors

· Increase early detection to decrease late stage cancer

· Provide all Hawai‘i residents, especially cancer survivors and the medically underserved, to facilitated access to the health care system

· Improve the quality of life for cancer survivors and others battling the effects of cancer “Allowing health disparities to exist in our community is not acceptable,” stated Senator Rosalyn Baker, the Hawai‘i State Cancer Plan working group chair.

“We must strive to offer the best available strategies for cancer prevention and risk reduction, early detection and treatment to all segments of our populations.” “We invite anyone interested in joining the Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition in our efforts to reduce the burden of cancer for Hawai‘i residents,” said Paula Higuchi, Chair of the Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and Community Partnership Coordinator at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. “Together we can attain our vision of no more cancer.”

Florlyn Taflinger is with the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Reach her at florlinda.taflinger@doh.hawaii.gov

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