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Special Spotlight: Heritage Observance Month and
Cancer Awareness Highlights

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month, CRCHD would like to spotlight numerous observances that relate to the fields of specific cancers and cancer health disparities research.

Lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancers are all in focus for November. Lung cancer is the cause of more deaths than any other cancer -- an estimated 159,480 deaths by the end of this year. African American men have the highest incidence and mortality rates for this disease. By the end of this year, 21,600 Americans will also be diagnosed with stomach cancer, and approximately 10,990 persons will die from the disease. This cancer is most common in our underserved populations, namely African American, Asian Americans, Hispanic, and Native American men and women. Pancreatic cancer is another disease that afflicts the underserved with Native Americans and Hispanics experiencing the third and fourth highest incidence and mortality rates.

The month of November is also recognized by our nation as American Indian Heritage Month. Despite having generally lower cancer rates than the non-Hispanic white population, men and women from this population group still experience disparities in certain cancer types. American Indian/Alaska Native men are 1.6 times as likely to have stomach cancer as non-Hispanic White men, and are over twice as likely to die from the same disease. American Indian/Alaska Native men and women also have the third highest incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer, behind African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites.

In light of this, CRCHD would like to recognize the contributions of NIH/NCI-supported researchers through their research, prevention, and training initiatives aimed specifically at addressing the disparate effect that cancer has on our underserved populations.

Dedra Buchwald, M.D., a U54 grantee, conducts epidemiological studies of the human papillomavirus (HPV) strains. The incidence of HPV is highest among Native American women of the Northern Plains at rates that top 20%. Dr. Buchwald hopes to better understand the factors leading to the higher incidence and lower survival rates for cervical cancer in Native American women.

Another CRCHD grantee, Judith Kaur, M.D., M.A., focuses on the Alaska Native population, and works to support primary preventive behavior change measures related to tobacco use. In rural Bethel, part of the Yukon Delta, pregnant women are highly susceptible to this use and very rarely understand the health risks involved.

Please take the time to educate yourself on these cancers, as well as the population in focus for this month, by visiting the following web pages:

These links will help you learn more about statistics, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Updated: 01/10/14