Purpose: Worldwide, Indigenous people often have disproportionally worse health and lower life expectancy than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Despite the impact of cancer on life expectancy, little is known about the burden of cancer for Indigenous people primarily because of the paucity of data. We investigated the collection and reporting of Indigenous status information among a global sample of population-based cancer registries (PBCRs).
Participants and methods: An online survey was e-mailed to eligible registries using set inclusion criteria. Respondents were asked questions on the collection, reporting, and quality assessment of Indigenous status in their registers.
Results: Eighty-three PBCRs from 25 countries were included. Of these, 66% reported that their registry collected Indigenous status data, although the quality of this variable had been assessed in less than half in terms of completeness (38%) and accuracy (47%). Two thirds of PBCRs who collected Indigenous status data (67%), from nine of 25 countries responded that cancer statistics for Indigenous people were reported using registry data. Key barriers to the collection of Indigenous status information included the lack of data collection at the point of care (79%), lack of transfer of Indigenous status to the cancer registry (46%), inadequate information systems (43%), and legislative limitations (32%). Important variations existed among world regions, although the lack of Indigenous status data collection at the point of care was commonly reported across all regions.
Conclusion: High-quality data collection is lacking for Indigenous peoples in many countries. To ensure the design and implementation of cancer control activities required to reduce disparities for Indigenous populations, health information systems, including cancer registries, need to be strengthened, and this must be done in dialogue with Indigenous leaders.