American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in the United States have unique cancer patterns due to their history and culture, where they live, and how they get health care. Many AI/ANs live on reservation lands or in remote rural areas, and their primary health care is provided by a tribally operated health program or the Indian Health Service.
Collecting Accurate Cancer Data
To improve the quality of cancer statistics for AI/AN people, CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) linked death records from state vital statistic systems and cancer incidence (new cases of cancer) records from state cancer registries with Indian Health Service registration data to identify AI/AN people correctly. Many times, they are incorrectly reported as being members of other racial groups.
From 2001 to 2009, death rates for all cancers combined went down for white men and women, but went up for AI/AN men and women. In addition, white people lived longer than AI/AN people after being diagnosed with nearly all types of cancer. For more information, visit Cancer Among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Answering Frequently Asked Questions
Native Americans and Alaska Natives get most kinds of cancer at lower rates than white people. But rates of stomach, liver, cervix, kidney, and gallbladder cancers are higher among these groups. Our fact sheet (239KB PDF) answers frequently asked questions about cancer for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Supporting Cancer Control Efforts
- Committed to continued support for cooperative agreement awardees and activities.
- Working with partners to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening in AI/AN communities.
- Participating in research that can help reduce health disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
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