Why Does Cancer Persist In The Native American Communities?


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One of the most important goals of the 2019 World Indigenous Cancer Conference was to address the increasing rates of cancer among indigenous populations. Researchers have gathered to share what they have in terms of statistics and information on how they could find ways to reduce the incidence of cancer among the indigenous peoples of Canada, Australia, and Native America. It seems that cancer control services, surveillance, patient support, and treatments are not sufficient and feasible. They focused their discussion on the reasons why Native Americans have a higher risk of developing cancer.

Why Can’t Native Americans Beat Cancer? 

They lack access to the proper healthcare system. 

While the government has made ties with Native Nations, they have failed to fund efficient healthcare facilities and programs. The Indian Health Service exists, but the budget cuts make it impossible to run appropriately. They have insufficient resources, which is why cancer patients do not get what they need to get treated. Also, because of the high rates of poverty, most Native Americans cannot afford to avail of healthcare and even Medicaid. They also encounter discrimination and stigma.

They lack sufficient documents.

The Native American population is frequently misconstrued when they seek help, and this has led to significant problems in terms of getting the proper information, documents, and statistics for their cancer rates. Details are often inappropriate or lacking. The CDC reports that one significant barrier to improving healthcare among the Native American communities is that a lot of them, including Native Alaskans, are misinterpreted on their records. They are often reported as a different race at the time of their death. This may sound insignificant, but it is a very vital issue, as there are so many discrepancies in terms of cancer and Native Americans. Researchers struggle to find ways to get the appropriate information to help reduce the rate of cancer among Native Americans. If they misreport because of incorrect details, they are falsifying data for this population. More attention must be made to achieve proper documentation.

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Joseph Medicine Crow shows a drum to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during a reception for recipients and their families in the Blue Room of the White House on Aug. 12, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) P081209PS-0965

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Illegal dumping of waste on native lands.

This is commonly done in most Native American communities. A lot of factories have been fly-tipping, or illegally throwing waste materials without the knowledge of the people living in these areas. Most of the waste materials contain asbestos, which is odorless, tasteless, and toxic. This is one of the major reasons for causing cancer.