Physicians and cancer researchers in Hawaiʻi have formed a first-of-its-kind team to address the growing rate of liver cancer in the state.
Nearly 20 people, including researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center and physicians at The Queen’s Medical Center and Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, have joined forces to fight liver cancer. Every year about 126 people in the state are diagnosed with the disease, and the incidence rates have been increasing in Hawaiʻi for decades.
The formation of the liver cancer disease group is significant for a state that has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation. Hepatitis B and C infections can lead to liver cancer, and these infections are found in high rates among Asian and Pacific Islander populations. Hawaiʻi plays a unique role as the bridge between Asia and the U.S. regarding liver cancer.
“Hawaiʻi’s multi-ethnic groups put us in a unique position to study liver cancer,” said Junfang Ji, PhD, an assistant professor in the cancer biology program at the UH Cancer Center.
UH Cancer Center hosts liver cancer conference
Due to the incidence of liver cancer in the islands, a first-ever Global Liver Cancer Conference on the disease is set for May 22 and 23 in the UH Cancer Centerʻs Sullivan Conference Center in Kakaako. Experts from China, Japan and the U.S. will discuss the latest in research and treatments. Continuing medical education credits are offered for this event, which is free of charge.
Longtime local entertainer Jimmy Borges will speak about his journey with liver cancer at the conference on Friday, May 22, at noon. Liver transplant surgeon Linda Wong, who founded and heads the only liver transplant program in Hawaiʻi, will speak on Saturday, May 23.
“The purpose of sitting together at the conference is to talk so that clinicians can learn about what’s going on at the forefront of research and researchers can tailor their research to something that’s going to be clinically relevant,” said Wong.
Registration for the event is required, and may be done online. Free parking is available.