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UH Releases ‘Cancer at a Glance’ Data

June 10, 2020, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated June 9, 4:42 PM
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Cancer. Big Island Stock Photo

The University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center’s Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry has released updated statistics on prevalent cancers throughout the islands based on research conducted between 2012 and 2016.

The report, Hawaiʻi Cancer at a Glance, shows that breast cancer remains the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women, while prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Hawaiʻi’s liver and stomach cancer incidence and mortality rates are significantly higher than the rest of the United States, and lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death in the state, according to a university press release.

Hawaiʻi is a diverse state in its geography, as well as in its demographics. In addition to having no ethnic majority, it has the highest proportion of individuals of mixed-race ethnicity in the US, with 20% of residents describing themselves as more than one race.

“Hawaiʻi Cancer at a Glance, 2012-2016, acknowledges this diversity, and examines variation in cancer incidence and mortality by county and across various racial and ethnic groups,” Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry Principal Investigator Brenda Hernandez said. “Disparities in cancer risk and outcomes across racial and ethnic groups may reflect genetic variation as well as differences in diet, tobacco and alcohol use, obesity and other lifestyle exposures.”

Key ethnic differences were also observed. Lung cancer incidence is highest in Filipinos and Native Hawaiians. Thyroid cancer incidence is highest in Filipino women. Liver cancer incidence and mortality are highest in Native Hawaiian men, and whites (both men and women) have the highest rates of melanoma.

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Annually, an average of 7,010 Hawaiʻi residents are newly diagnosed with invasive cancer and 2,347 individuals die of cancer. There are more than 62,000 cancer survivors in the state.

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The Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry is responsible for cancer surveillance in the state of Hawaiʻi. It is a funded registry of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. The Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry collects confidential data on cancer diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. The data is used to track cancer trends in the state and nation.

“Tracking the rate of new cancer cases and deaths is critically important for the UH Cancer Center’s research on cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship,” Hernandez said. Publications from NCI SEER registries, such as Hawaiʻi Cancer at a Glance, 2012-2016, serve as an important resource for cancer research and public health activities throughout the nation.

Updated national and statewide cancer statistics reflect a reporting delay between the time an individual is diagnosed with cancer and the case is reported to cancer registries in order to obtain complete clinical and pathologic information, as well as the first course of treatment.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

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