American Indian Health Expert Discusses Findings of Recent Cancer Study
Indian Country Today on Tuesday published an interview with Judith Kaur, a member of the Choctaw Nation, who discussed a recent National Cancer Institute study looking at cancer disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Kaur was a co-author of the report, "An Update on Cancer in American Indian and Alaska Native Populations, 1999-2004." The study found that cancer appears to affect Natives differently based on the region where they live. It called for implementing prevention and education programs and basing treatment on cultural differences within the American Indian culture and tribal subgroups.
In the interview, Kaur said the study is significant because it includes the most current, accurate and comprehensive data on American Indian/Alaska Natives and "more completely define[s] the specific cancers and their patterns across Indian country." According to Kaur, "Previous data had significant racial misclassification," so numbers could have been inaccurate. She added, "It is important not to paint a broad brush across all [American Indian/Alaska Native] populations."
Kaur said she hopes the study will encourage the biomedical research community and outreach workers to "contribute to comprehensive cancer control in [American Indian/Alaska Native] populations." She said, "There are definite research questions to be answered about the geographic variation of breast, colorectal and kidney cancers," adding, "True community based participatory research could answer these questions by partnering of tribes with strong academic centers" (Indian Country Today, 12/16). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.