BACKGROUND: Mortality that is due to cervical cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native women in the Pacific Northwest exceeds that among women of other races. Nevertheless, little information is available regarding the prevalence and follow-up of abnormal Papanicolaou smears among American Indian and Alaska Native women in the region. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of American Indian and Alaska Native women seen at 12 Indian Health Service and tribally operated clinics in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who had an abnormal Papanicolaou smear in 1992. RESULTS: Of 4547 Papanicolaou smear results reviewed, 280 (6.2 percent) had an abnormal result (dysplasia or carcinoma in situ). Of the recommended colposcopies, 167 of 224 (75 percent) were completed. Women with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions were more likely to obtain recommended colposcopy than were women with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. Women treated at clinics that referred patients to outside providers for colposcopy were more likely to have colposcopy than were those who were offered the procedure on site. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of Pacific Northwest American Indian and Alaska Native women in Indian Health Service and tribal clinics with abnormal Papanicolaou smears and the proportion who receive colposcopy are similar to those in other populations. The higher rate of cervical cancer mortality among American Indian and Alaska Native women could be due to failure to screen high-risk women. Cytologic screening rates, methods to improve adherence to colposcopy recommendations, and the contribution of other factors to the cause of cervical cancer mortality need to be characterized in this population.
To explore the cancer information preferences of immigrant women by their level of acculturation we conducted interviews with 34 Spanish-speaking English-as-a-second-language (ESL) women. Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were used to look for differences by acculturation. Four themes were identified: What is prevention? What should I do; sources of my cancer information, strategies I use to better understand, and identifying and closing my health knowledge gaps. Acculturation did not differentiate immigrant women's cancer information sources, preferences, or strategies used to address language barriers. We suggest the effect of acculturation is neither direct nor simple and may reflect other factors including self-efficacy.
To address concerns about disruptions in the continuity of health care delivered to residents in three remote aboriginal communities in northern Ontario, Canada, the local health authority initiated a study in collaboration with the department of Health Canada responsible for ensuring that aboriginal reserves receive mandatory health services, and an inter-disciplinary team of researchers from two universities. The study focussed on the delivery of oncology, diabetes and mental health care, specifically, as well as systems issues such as recruitment and retention of health human resources and financial costs. The paper discusses the procedures involved, the benefits derived and the challenges encountered in doing this as a community driven participatory action research project. It also summarizes the findings that led to community formulated policy and program recommendations.
Cancer incidence and its possible relation to environmental contaminants, including radiation, continues to be a perceived health threat for the arctic-dwelling Alaska Native (Inupiat Eskimo) people despite the lack of a direct link to high-dose exposure. To better understand this concern, all known malignancies diagnosed in this population (n = 177) in three consecutive eight-year periods (1971-1994) were evaluated. The most recent average incidence rate (age-adjusted to world standard population) of 315 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval, CI = 248-382) represents a 33% surge (albeit non-significant) in Alaska Native cancer incidence over the initial period studied. The male rate 366 (95% CI = 266-466) for the same period exceeds the female rate 258 (95% CI = 169-347) by 42%. Two patterns of cancer incidence are seen at the village level. One, a 24 y upward trend found in the villages of Barrow, Point Hope and Kaktovik (combined rate of increase significant [P = 0.047]) associated with lung cancer; and the other, a stable trend over the past 16 y, associated with colon and rectal cancer. Lung cancer is the predominant cancer by site and is primarily a male disease. The recent male lung cancer incidence rate of 137 (95% CI = 73-201) exceeds the female rate by greater than five times. Total lung cancer cases are primarily confined to four villages where the incidence significantly (P = 0.0043) exceeds the remaining population. The major female cancers are colon/rectal and breast with cancer of the cervix virtually eliminated. Breast cancer is found primarily in two villages where its excess is significant (P = 0.025). Inupiat Eskimo cancer epidemiology is unique, differing from both the Alaska Native and other Circumpolar populations. At present, this uniqueness cannot be explained by an overt environmental contaminant exposure. Although tobacco very likely plays a central role, it by itself cannot fully explain the extremely high male lung cancer rate and why only specific villages are affected. Genetic predisposition and environmental factors may play a synergistic role as cofactors. A cooperative investigative effort with the Inupiat population is indicated and may go a long way in reducing cancer concern in the region.
Barbara V. Howard, Hong Wang, and Jason G. Umans are with the MedStar Health Research Institute, Hyattsville, MD. Jesse S. Metzger is with the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Kathryn R. Koller, Elvin D. Asay, Abbie W. Wolfe, and Ellen M. Provost are with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Division of Community Health Services, Anchorage. Stacey E. Jolly is with the Cleveland Clinic Medicine Institute, Cleveland, OH. Scarlett E. Hopkins, Cristiane Kaufmann, and Bert B. Boyer are with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Alaska Native Health Research. Terry W. Raymer and Brian Trimble are with the Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage. Sven O.?E. Ebbesson is with the Norton Sound Health Corporation, Nome, AK. Melissa A. Austin is with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle. William James Howard is with the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC.
We determined all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality in western Alaska Native people and examined agreement between death certificate information and adjudicated cause of deaths.
Data from 4 cohort studies were consolidated. Death certificates and medical records were reviewed and adjudicated according to standard criteria. We compared adjudicated CVD and cancer deaths with death certificates by calculating sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and ? statistics.
Men (n = 2116) and women (n = 2453), aged 18 to 95 years, were followed an average of 6.7 years. The major cause of death in men was trauma (25%), followed by CVD (19%) and cancer (13%). The major cause of death in women was CVD (24%), followed by cancer (19%) and trauma (8%). Stroke rates in both genders were higher than those of US Whites. Only 56% of deaths classified as CVD by death certificate were classified as CVD by standard criteria; discordance was higher among men (55%) than women (32%; ?s = 0.4 and 0.7).
We found lower rates for coronary heart disease death but high rates of stroke mortality. Death certificates overestimated CVD mortality; concordance between the 2 methods is better for cancer mortality. The results point to the importance of cohort studies in this population in providing data to assist in health care planning.
Lack of access to care, funding limitations, cultural, and social barriers are challenges specific to tribal communities that have led to adverse cancer outcomes among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). While the cancer navigator model has been shown to be effective in other underserved communities, it has not been widely implemented in Indian Country. We conducted in-depth interviews with 40 AI/AN patients at tribal clinics in Idaho and Oregon. We developed the survey instrument in partnership with community members to ensure a culturally appropriate semi-structured questionnaire. Questions explored barriers to accessing care, perceptions of the navigator program, satisfaction, and recommendations. AI/AN cancer patients reported physical, emotional, financial, and transportation barriers to care, but most did not feel there were any cultural barriers to receiving care. Navigator services most commonly used included decision making, referrals, transportation, scheduling appointments, and communication. Satisfaction with the program was high. Our study provides a template to develop a culturally appropriate survey instrument for use with an AI/AN population, which could be adapted for use with other indigenous patient populations. Although our sample was small, our qualitative analysis facilitated a deeper understanding of the barriers faced by this population and how a navigator program may best address them. The results reveal the strengths and weakness of this program, and provide baseline patient satisfaction numbers which will allow future patient navigator programs to better create evaluation benchmarks.
Cites: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Oct;21(10):1673-81 PMID 23045542
Cites: MMWR Surveill Summ. 2004 Jun 4;53(3):1-108 PMID 15179359
BACKGROUND: The literature on social networks and social supports attests to the powerful influence of social relationships on health; there is a dearth of such studies with American Indians/Alaska Natives. METHOD: This exploratory study assesses the social network topology and perceived social supports received among American Indian cancer survivors and matched controls. RESULTS: Although there did not appear to be marked differences overall among cases and controls, expressive social supports (eg, companionship, moral support, encouragement, advice, and friendship) were ranked highly across each component of the network. CONCLUSIONS: The family appears to be the principal source of social supports relative to either best/closest friend or church/community.
Administration on Aging and the Indian Health Service are developing or examining the feasibility of programs to support home health care on reservations and American Indian colleges are training home care paraprofessionals to provide high quality home care for frail American Indian elders. Home care links formal and informal systems of health care and is affected by social and cultural issues. These macro-level considerations provide a context for home care of cancer patients and are the focus of this article.