American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations have higher gastric cancer rates than the general US population. This study provides a comprehensive overview of incidence rates among AI/AN persons during 2005-2016 compared with non-Hispanic whites (whites).
Population-based cancer registry data for 2005-2016 were linked with the Indian Health Service patient registration databases to address racial misclassification. Age-adjusted gastric cancer incidence rates were expressed per 100,000 per year. Incidence and trend analyses were restricted to purchased/referred care delivery area counties in 6 geographic regions, comparing gastric cancer incidence rates for AI/AN vs white populations in the United States.
Gastric cancer rates were higher in the AI/AN compared with white populations in nearly every US region. Incidence rates for central/distal portions of the stomach were higher in AI/AN individuals compared with whites. Rates of later stage gastric cancer were higher in AI/AN populations overall and in every region except the Pacific Coast and East. Incidence rates decreased significantly over time in both populations. Declining rates in the AI/AN populations were driven by changes in the Pacific Coast and Northern Plains regions.
AI/AN populations have a disproportionately high incidence of gastric cancer, especially in Alaska. High incidence in the central/distal portions of the stomach among AI/AN populations likely reflects a high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in these populations. These data can be used to develop interventions to reduce risk factors and improve access to health services among AI/AN people at high risk for gastric cancer.