American Indians, Alaska Natives Have Higher Cancer Incidence

Higher rates reported for lung, liver, kidney, colorectal, and stomach cancers versus whites

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) population faces a higher risk for many cancers than white Americans living in the same geographical region, according to a study published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Stephanie C. Melkonian, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and colleagues used data from the National Program of Cancer Registries; the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program; and the Indian Health Service (IHS) patient registration databases (2010 to 2015) to compare cancer incidence rates in non-Hispanic AI/AN persons to those of non-Hispanic whites living in IHS purchased/referred care delivery area counties.

The researchers found that lung and colorectal cancer incidence rates were nearly 20 percent to 2.5 times higher in AI/AN men, and nearly 20 percent to nearly three times higher in AI/AN women compared with whites in the Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Pacific Coast, and Alaska. Among the AI/AN population, cancers of the liver, kidney, and stomach were significantly more common compared with the white population in all regions. There were also more significant decreases in cancer incidence rates in the white population versus the AI/AN population.

"These findings highlight opportunities for targeted public health interventions to reduce AI/AN cancer incidence," the authors write.

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