INTRODUCTION: Cancer incidence and mortality rates for American Indians in the Northern Plains region of the United States are among the highest in the nation. Reliable cancer surveillance data are essential to help reduce this burden; however, racial data in state cancer registries are often misclassified, and cases are often underreported.
METHODS: We used a community-based participatory research approach to conduct a retrospective ascertainment of cancer cases in clinic medical records over a 9-year period (1995-2003) and compared the results with the state cancer registry to evaluate missing or racially misclassified cases. Six tribal and/or urban Indian clinics participated in the study. The project team consisted of participating clinics, a state cancer registry, a comprehensive cancer center, an American Indian/Alaska Native Leadership Initiative on Cancer, and a set of diverse organizational partners. Clinic personnel were trained by project staff to accurately identify cancer cases in clinic records. These records were then matched with the state cancer registry to assess misclassification and underreporting.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that direct reporting of cancer cases by tribal and urban Indian health clinics to a state cancer registry improved the quality of the data available for cancer surveillance. Higher-quality data can advance the efforts of cancer prevention and control stakeholders to address disparities in Native communities.
RESULTS: Forty American Indian cases were identified that were either missing or misclassified in the state registry. Adding these cases to the registry increased the number of American Indian cases by 21.3% during the study period (P = .05).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health