Background: Native Americans from the Northern Plains have the highest age-adjusted cancer mortality compared to Native Americans from any other region in the U.S.
Purpose: This study examined the utilization and determinants of cancer screening in a large sample of Native Americans from the Northern Plains.
Methods: A survey was administered orally to 975 individuals in 2004-2006 from three reservations and among the urban Native American community in the service region of the Rapid City Regional Hospital. Data analysis was conducted in 2007-2008.
Results: Forty-four percent of individuals reported ever receiving any cancer screening. Particularly low levels were found in breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer screening. In multivariate analyses, the strongest determinant of receiving cancer screening overall or cancer screening for a specific cancer site was recommendation for screening by a doctor or nurse. Other determinants associated with increased likelihood of ever having cancer screening included older age, female gender, and receiving physical exams more than once a year. Increased age was a determinant of breast cancer screening and receiving physical exams was associated with cervical cancer screening.
Conclusions: Cancer screening was markedly underutilized in this sample of Native Americans from the Northern Plains. Future research should evaluate the potential for improving cancer screening.