Measuring cancer in indigenous populations

Diana Sarfati, Gail Garvey, Bridget Robson, Suzanne Moore, Ruth Cunningham, Diana Withrow, Kalinda Griffiths, Nadine R. Caron, Freddie Bray

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

    Abstract

    It is estimated that there are 370 million indigenous peoples in 90 countries globally. Indigenous peoples generally face substantial disadvantage and poorer health status compared with nonindigenous peoples. Population-level cancer surveillance provides data to set priorities, inform policies, and monitor progress over time. Measuring the cancer burden of vulnerable subpopulations, particularly indigenous peoples, is problematic. There are a number of practical and methodological issues potentially resulting in substantial underestimation of cancer incidence and mortality rates, and biased survival rates, among indigenous peoples. This, in turn, may result in a deprioritization of cancer-related programs and policies among these populations. This commentary describes key issues relating to cancer surveillance among indigenous populations including 1) suboptimal identification of indigenous populations, 2) numerator-denominator bias, 3) problems with data linkage in survival analysis, and 4) statistical analytic considerations. We suggest solutions that can be implemented to strengthen the visibility of indigenous peoples around the world. These include acknowledgment of the central importance of full engagement of indigenous peoples with all data-related processes, encouraging the use of indigenous identifiers in national and regional data sets and mitigation and/or careful assessment of biases inherent in cancer surveillance methods for indigenous peoples.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-342
    Number of pages8
    JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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  • Cite this

    Sarfati, D., Garvey, G., Robson, B., Moore, S., Cunningham, R., Withrow, D., Griffiths, K., Caron, N. R., & Bray, F. (2018). Measuring cancer in indigenous populations. Annals of Epidemiology, 28(5), 335-342. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.02.005