Hawaii State Cancer Plan highlights importance of screening

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Prevention and early detection.

That’s the focus of the Hawaii State Cancer Plan, 2016-2020, unveiled Wednesday by the Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Coalition.

Officials describe it as a vision and action document designed to reduce the burden of cancer in Hawaii. Cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in the state.

“The plan is to make sure that people are getting the screening tests they should, screening for colorectal cancer, immunization such as human papillomavirus which prevents cancer, lung cancer screening for those who are smokers, continued tobacco control, those kinds of things,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “The screenings that are recommended in the cancer plan are all covered by insurance.”

Officials say men in Hawaii are 1.5 times more likely to die from cancer than women, due in part to lower screening rates. Between 2000 and 2014, men had 3,481 more cancer deaths than women. While screening rates have improved over the last decade for both sexes, men are less likely to survive diagnosis, suggesting that they were not diagnosed and an early enough state to prevent death. In 2014, 9,200 more women than men were diagnosed with some type of cancer in Hawaii.

Men and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) are more likely to die from the disease than women and other ethnicities, suggesting that these groups are less likely to regularly be screened.

The plan includes strategies such as offering screenings in combination with other screenings, developing targeted campaigns, increasing cultural sensitivity among medical staff, linking patient navigators to healthcare systems, and updating or implementing worksite wellness policies.

The plan is based on national recommendations and was developed by key stakeholders from across the State. It organizes priority objectives under four major goals: Prevention, Early Detection, Equitable Access to Care, and Quality of Life.Click here to view the plan in its entirety.

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