New legislation allocates funding for liver and bile duct cancer research
About 200 people in Hawaii die from liver and bile duct cancer every year. On Monday, Governor David Ige hopes to lower those numbers with a simple signature.
In January, Nani Medeiros lost her father who died from bile duct cancer five months after diagnosis.
"We wanted to get involved in doing everything we could do to make sure the bill was passed and potentially save lives," Medeiros said.
Hawaii has one of the highest rates of liver and bile duct cancer in the nation, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We don't know and can't fully explain why the incidents here are higher and I think that's why it's very important that we fund research here at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center," Ige said.
Some common causes of liver cancer are Hepatitis B and C, alcohol abuse and obesity. Now, experts want to examine a connection to bile duct cancer.
"We want to study together to see if there's any difference or interaction between the two so give us more complete picture of the disease," Dr. Herbert Yu, program director, cancer epidemiology program, UH Cancer Center, said.
While experts hope to solve some of the cancers mysteries, Medeiros hopes this measure can help save other families so they won't have to go through the pain and loss she suffered.
"Even though my family is still grieving the loss of dad, if this research helps save other people that experience and it helps save other lives, then it gives me a certain feeling of peace that dad's death wasn't in vain," she said.
The legislation provides researchers $350,000 for a year starting July 1.