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Cancer Programs

National statistics show that mortality rates for cancer are higher in American Indians than those of other races in the United States. Current statistics indicate an increasing incidence in the American Indian population. With this new emerging pattern, mortality rates are also increasing.

Cancer Programs Cancer Registry

Helping American Indians in the Fight against Cancer

Cherokee Nation is the only tribe in the United States with a cancer registry. The Registry was funded initially in 1997 by the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program. Among some of the information the registry collects are: type of cancer, stage of disease at the time of diagnosis (how far the cancer has advanced), and how and when cancer is diagnosed and treated.

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS
• Maintain a cancer incidence and reporting system. • Maintain and retrieve accurate, reliable, and timely cancer incidence data. • Monitor data accuracy and completeness through systematic quality assurance procedures. • Analyze cancer incidence and mortality data • Disseminate cancer information and facilitate studies related to cancer prevention and control.

PRIMARY USES OF DATA
• Identify populations at risk of cancer. • Monitor trends in cancer incidence and mortality so that appropriate and timely interventions are undertaken. • Respond to tribally-approved clinical or environmental research related to the causes and prevention of cancer in the Cherokee Nation Tribal Jurisdiction Service Area.

QUALITY ASSURANCE
Quality assurance procedures ensure the reliability, completeness, consistency, and comparability of cancer registry data. Quality assurance procedures include: • Automated data edits and visual review through the data collection process. • Data quality audits and case finding studies to estimate data completeness and accuracy. • Internal and external training to ensure precise and valid data extraction and coding.

AREA OPERATIONS
Collaborative agreements with area healthcare providers are a vital part of the data collection process. Memorandums of Agreements (MOAs) with area hospitals and treatment facilities are established. This allows the registry to maintain access to patient diagnosis and treatment information. The registry has several sources for case identification. The major source is the Resource Patient Management System (RPMS) used by Indian Health Service facilities. The second source is the Oklahoma Central Cancer Registry with whom data is exchanged bi-annually. This allows for those patients who were not seen in the tribal or IHS health care systems to be identified and added to the registry. Pathology report forms are reviewed frequently to ensure that all cancer cases have been found.

CONFIDENTIALITY
Confidentiality and security are top priorities with the Cherokee Nation Cancer Registry. Reports prepared with registry information include only aggregated data, without the use of individual identifiers. The registry conforms to the requirements established by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other federal and tribal policies on health information security.

EARLY DETECTION
Cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States. There are two major components of early detection of cancer: primary prevention of cancer to encourage a healthy lifestyle and secondary prevention through screening to promote early diagnosis of cancer.

Early diagnosis of cancer when the cancer is in its earliest stages is best because the cancer can be treated easier in early stages. Early diagnosis is particularly important for breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, prostate and skin because tests are available to look for these types of cancers.

Recognizing possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action leads to early diagnosis. Increased awareness of possible warning signs of cancer, among physicians, nurses and other health care providers as well as among the general public, can have a great impact on the disease. Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion, and chronic hoarseness.

For further information regarding the Cancer Registry call:

Ann Wheeler 918-453-5443
Chrissy Marsh 918-453-5453
Toll Free 877-458-4481

By Mail:
Cherokee Nation Cancer Registry
P. O. Box 948
Tahlequah, OK 74465

By Email:
chrissy-marsh@cherokee.org

General Contact
health@cherokee.org 918-453-5000 ext 5657
health@cherokee.org 877-458-4481 toll free