Doctors and UH Cancer Center researchers team up to combat liver cancer

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Nana Ohkawa , (808) 564-5911
Public Information Officer, UH Cancer Center - Communications
Posted: May 13, 2015

Jimmy Borges, a liver cancer survivor, will speak at a May 22-23 conference at the UH Cancer Center.
Jimmy Borges, a liver cancer survivor, will speak at a May 22-23 conference at the UH Cancer Center.

Physicians and cancer researchers in Hawai‘i 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 UH Cancer Center and physicians at The Queen’s Medical Center and Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i 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. This is why Hawai‘i plays a unique role as the bridge between Asia and the U.S. regarding liver cancer.

“Hawai‘i’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.

Due to the incidence of liver cancer in the islands, a first-ever conference on the disease is set for May 22 and 23, 2015, in the UH Cancer Center's 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, MD, who founded and heads the only liver transplant program in Hawai‘i, 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 Dr. Wong.

Registration for the event is required, and may be done online at  Free parking is available.

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center is one of 68 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute.  Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.