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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractExisting information about cancer among American Indians, although limited, suggests that incidence and mortality rates are increasing. Cancer is now the second leading cause of death among American Indian women. American Indians also have the poorest cancer survival of any group in the US. Improving the early detection of cancer is key to reducing mortality and improving survival. This study assessed screening rates and behaviors for breast and cervical cancer, two of the main causes of cancer death in American Indian women. The health beliefs and practices of urban American Indian women, a group which comprises half of this special population, were the focus of this cross-sectional random household survey. Our results are similar to the results of other studies which indicate that breast and cervical cancer screening rates in American Indian women are below both national estimates and goals set forth by the Public Health Service for the Year 2000. The prevalence of recent mammogram among urban southwestern American Indian women surveyed (35.7%) was less than half that of the US population, and only 49.5% indicated they had received a Pap smear in the last year in accordance with current guidelines for this high-risk population. Rate of physician referral for several cancer risk reduction programs also did not meet recommended levels. Improving health care access and knowledge and awareness of cancer screening are other potential ways of increasing screening participation, and more research is needed to promote the link between lifestyle habits and long-term health promotion in urban southwestern American Indian women.
Degree ProgramGraduate College