Legislature passes bill in fight against liver and bile duct cancer

May 2, 2019

Contributed by Representative Mizuno's office

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Representative John Mizuno (D - Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Lower Kalihi), Chair of the House Health committee and the bill's author provides, "This is by far the most aggressive stride we have ever taken in the fight against liver and bile duct cancer. We had an urgency to pass this bill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, Hawaiʻi has the highest or second highest rate of liver cancer in the United States depending on the yearly data. The purpose of the HB654 is to provide funding to the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Research Center to determine with scientific certainty the causal connection from the environment and genetics for the high incidence of liver and bile duct cancer in Hawaiʻi. The UH Cancer Research Center will use the funding to research the biomarkers such as infections, liver flukes, person's background, and environmental toxin which could be the link causing such cancer. This research will be the key to intervention and prevention of liver and bile duct cancer in Hawaiʻi and the rest of the world. Today was a great day in our fight against liver and bile duct cancer and Hawaiʻi will be the World leader in this endeavor."

LUCIEN WONG, whose wife passed away from bile duct cancer, provides, "The impossible becomes possible when it's the right thing to do."

NANI MEDEIROS, whose father recently passed away from liver cancer states, "With the passage of HB654, our legislature sends a clear message that the health of our people is a priority. This bill will save lives and provide answers about Hawaiʻi's high incidence and mortality rates for bile duct and liver cancers. I am infinitely grateful to our legislators for introducing and passing this bill. The lives we lost so far, my Dad included, will not be in vain."

DR. RANDALL HOLCOMBE, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAIʻI CANCER CENTER adds, "We are very appreciative of HB654 which will support research at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center into the causes of the high incidence of liver cancer in Hawaii. It is imperative that the causes for this high incidence are discovered so that effective cancer prevention interventions can be implemented. Only UH Cancer Center has the researchers to conduct these types of studies. Because of the low level of funding nationally for liver cancer, passage of this bill to provide the resources needed to conduct the research is essential to reduce the burden of this cancer for the people of Hawaiʻi."

CORY CHUN, Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc. said, "Cancer research saves lives. Every breakthrough in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer was discovered through research. With House Bill 654 we have the opportunity to determine whether factors unique to Hawaii are contributing to our higher rates of liver and bile duct cancer."