Disparities in cancer mortality and incidence among American Indians and Alaska natives in the United States

Mary C. White, David K. Espey, Judith Swan, Charles L. Wiggins, Christie Eheman, Judith S. Kaur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations


Objectives. We used improved data on American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) ancestry to provide an updated and comprehensive description of cancer mortality and incidence among AI/AN populations from 1990 to 2009. Methods. We linked the National Death Index and central cancer registry records independently to the Indian Health Service (IHS) patient registration database to improve identification of AI/AN persons in cancer mortality and incidence data, respectively. Analyses were restricted to non-Hispanic persons residing in Contract Health Service Delivery Area counties in 6 geographic regions of the United States. We compared age-adjusted mortality and incidence rates for AI/AN populations with White populations using rate ratios and mortality-to-incidence ratios. Trends were described using joinpoint analysis. Results. Cancer mortality and incidence rates for AI/AN persons compared with Whites varied by region and type of cancer. Trends in death rates showed that greater progress in cancer control was achieved for White populations compared with AI/AN populations over the last 2 decades. Conclusions. Spatial variations in mortality and incidence by type of cancer demonstrated both persistent and emerging challenges for cancer control in AI/AN populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S377-S387
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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