Document Type



The objectives of this case-based study are identified as; 1) compare cancer incidence, mortality and survival for specified cancer sites in the population compared with that in older non-Indians; 2) list risk factors for the more common types of cancer; 3) describe the role of traditional healing within the cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery processes; 4) identify barriers which affect the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from cancer in older populations; and 5) define diagnosis, treatment, and management protocols. The data compiled includes age-adjusted rates by the direct method. These rates allow comparison of cancer morbidity or mortality data between Northeastern and Southeastern tribes as though the age distributions were comparable. The ""age-adjusted rate"" calculation required that the data of interest be compared with a standard population. Most national databases use 1970 U.S. population as the standard. Older American Indians and Alaska Natives are low users of early cancer detection programs in comparison with other racial groups. Numerous barriers explain the low utilization and participation rates. Barriers, which affect American Indian and Alaska Native participation in cancer early detection and screening programs, include poverty, psychosocial, and sociocultural issues. Cancer disease rates continue to increase among elder Native Americans. Many types of cancer are best addressed through prevention efforts and early detection. Providers need to increase cancer prevention, awareness, early detection screening programs, and support groups to provide emotional and spiritual support to Native people affected by cancer. Additionally, traditional Native American healers, using therapy and ceremonies working conjunction with scientific providers allows for the patients spiritual healing, guidance, and cleansing.

Publication Date



University of Colorado, Health Science Center, Native Elder Health Care Resource Center, Denver, Colorado 80220.