NCI ‘Committed to Addressing’ Lung Cancer Among American Indians, Official Says in Opinion Piece
The National Cancer Institute is "committed to addressing" the health disparities related to lung cancer in the American Indian population by "working closely with the native community to control and prevent smoking and lung cancer through various methods," Yvonne Vargas -- a medical officer with NCI's Division of Cancer Prevention with the lung, head and neck cancer research group -- writes in an Indian Country Today opinion piece. American Indians have the highest smoking rates in the U.S., and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Vargas says, adding that lung cancer also is the second leading cause of death for American Indians over age 45. In addition, American Indian youth are more likely to smoke than any other ethnic group, according to Vargas. NCI has partnered with several local and regional organizations to develop "strategic tobacco plans, incorporat[e] community-driven interventions" and fund research and programs aimed to reducing cancer health disparities, Vargas writes, adding that NCI officials "will continue to do our part ... [and] are working every day to increase our efforts to research and eliminate the greater cancer burden in American Indian communities" (Vargas, Indian Country Today, 12/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.