State briefs for June 11

UH leads groundbreaking cancer study

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii Cancer Center is the leader in a groundbreaking national study that found that early-stage breast cancer patients with the most common form of the disease do not benefit from chemotherapy.

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The center helped develop the largest breast cancer study, enrolling 172 Hawaii patients onto the TailorX clinical trial, which found that hormone therapy alone produced results as good as both chemotherapy and hormone treatment for 70 percent of women post-surgery.

“We’re able now to spare a large group of women side effects of chemotherapy,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. “We now know with this study that women in this intermediate group will have the same chance of a cure by treating with a hormone pill alone. There are some side effects to hormone pills but a lot less than chemotherapy.”

It could significantly change the standard of care, he added.

The five-year survival rate was 98 percent for women who received hormone pills alone and 98.1 percent for those who received both therapies. At nine years, the rates were 93.9 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively.

The findings were based on 10,273 women who participated in the study from 2006 to 2010.

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group based in Philadelphia conducted the clinical trial, supported by the National Cancer Institute, a number of foundations and sales of the breast cancer research postage stamp, which provided more than $5 million.

Visitor support agency to hold fundraiser

HONOLULU (AP) — The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, or VASH, a nonprofit agency that responds to Hawaii visitors in distress, is in need of more resources to meet growing demands.

The agency, in conjunction with the Waikiki Improvement Association and the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, will hold a fundraiser June 20 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu.

Money raised will go toward providing visitors with transportation, clothing, food vouchers and assistance with accommodations, VASH President and CEO Jessica Lani Rich said.

“We’re hoping to raise at least $10,000 to carry us through the summer, which is a time of more need,” Rich said.

“Our budget has been the same the last few years, but as more visitors come to Hawaii, we do see more incidents. There’s been a recent rash of crimes against our visitors but there are just more calls in general.”

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Rich said VASH partners with other organizations to inform the public about crime trends and criminal hotspots and offer safety tips, especially about visiting Hawaii’s natural attractions.

“To many people this is paradise and they let their guard down,” Rich said. “If they use safety tips, most of them will have a wonderful vacation, but if they do things that they would never do back home, that’s a risk.”

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