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Health | Opinion
Editorial: Culture to blame for Indian death rate


"Low breast cancer screening and survival rates for American Indian and Alaska native women have more to do with cultural beliefs than with barriers such as access to health care, a new UC Davis study has found.

Researchers with UC Davis and the Turtle Health Foundation also found that more holistic educational interventions designed by American Indian and Alaska native women prompted women in those communities to seek mammograms and to change unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles.

"The results highlight the significance of cultural beliefs and attitudes when designing effective cancer-risk-reduction and cancer-control interventions," said Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, assistant adjunct professor or hematology and oncology and director of the UC Davis Outreach, Research and Education Program. "Access to mammography screening and quality follow-up care are critical, but we learned that access is not the only barrier to improving breast cancer screening rates among AI/AN women."

Breast cancer is now the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American Indian and Alaska native women, with mortality rates that could be cut by more than 30 percent if screening were increased to recommended levels."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Don't blame poor health care for Indian death rates (The Woodland Daily Democrat 7/29)

Earlier Story:
Culture May Help Raise Breast Cancer Death Rate for American Indians (US News & World Report 7/24)