Hawaii Cancer Survivors, Patients Rally at State Capitol in Effort to Reduce Health Disparities

Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Support Bill to Fund Multiethnic Cohort Study to Help Address Cancer Disparities

March 26, 2024

HONOLULU, HAWAII – American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers from across Hawaii met with their legislators at the Hawaii State Capitol Thursday to urge them to support HB1301. If enacted, the policy would enable funding for a multiethnic cohort study by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the Hawaii Pacific region. 
The study would focus on lifestyle habits, environmental exposures, health-related behaviors, and social factors that could contribute to cancer disparities among Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander individuals and Asian groups, including Filipinos in Hawaii. The collected data will aid in future research to improve health outcomes for these underrepresented populations. 
“This study is a critical component in addressing health inequities, especially in  
cancer,” said Cynthia Au, ACS CAN Hawaii Government Relations Director. “Our diverse communities need education and resources to overcome barriers that prevent quality health outcomes. This study will help to do just that. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to live a healthy life.” 
Advocates also urged legislators to support measures to increase access to biomarker testing coverage (HCR53 and SCR159), as well as fertility preservation (HB 1624). The group also asked lawmakers to support tobacco prevention and control by opposing SB 3335 to protect smoke-free air in Hawaii, as well. 

More than 8,600 residents of Hawaii will be diagnosed with cancer, an increase from last year. Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in Hawaii with an estimated 2,650 deaths this year. It is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans and the second leading cause of death among Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander individuals. 

Media Contacts

Alex Wiles
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Las Vegas, NV