not attained due to the small numbers of cases in these groups. As noted in the report of the NCI Cancer Control Review Group, SEER program incidence data do not cover Appalachia or the rural South (National Cancer Institute, 1997b).

Cancer Incidence Among Native Americans

Four facts are consistently found in studies examining cancer among American Indian populations. They are:

  • cancer is the second leading cause of death;
  • American Indians have the lowest 5-year survival rate for all cancers when compared to other populations;
  • American Indians have the highest percentage of disseminated and ill-defined cancers; and,
  • very little is known about prevention and treatment patterns for cancer in American Indians.

SEER program information on cancer incidence, mortality and survival in Native Americans is only available for American Indians living in New Mexico and Arizona (the Southwestern American Indians), and Alaska Natives (Miller et al., 1996). As indicated in Table 2-12, the five foremost

TABLE 2-12 Five Most Frequently Diagnosed Cancers Among Alaska Native and American Indian (New Mexico) Men, 1988 to 1992, Age Adjusted to 1970 U.S. Standard Population*


Incidence per 100,000 Population


Lung and Bronchus

Colon and Rectum



Kidney and Renal Pelvis

Alaska Native








Colon and Rectum

Kidney and Renal Pelvis

Lung and Bronchus

Liver and Intrahepatic

American Indian (New Mexico)






* The rate is based on fewer than 25 cases and may be subject to greater variability than the other rates, which are based on larger numbers.

SOURCE: SEER program (Miller et al., 1996).

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement