In a first-of-its kind study, researchers investigated and compared cancer incidence and rates in indigenous populations across the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.1

Investigators used data from population-based cancer registries in 3 Australian states, New Zealand, the province of Alberta in Canada, and the Contract Health Service Delivery Areas of the United States.

They used standardized rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals to compare the indigenous with the non-indigenous populations of each jurisdiction, except for those in Alaska, who were compared with whites. A total of 24,815 cases of indigenous people and 5,685,264 cases of non-indigenous people were included in the study.

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Findings showed that the overall cancer burden in indigenous populations in the United States was substantially lower, with the exception of Alaska. Indigenous populations in Australia and Canada had similar or slightly lower rates of cancer, and indigenous people in New Zealand had higher rates of cancer than non-indigenous people.

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The most common types of cancer in men were lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer, and the most common types of cancer in women in most areas were breast, followed by lung and colorectal cancers.

The authors concluded that their findings highlight the need for cancer prevention strategies such as screening, vaccination, and smoking cessation. They also noted that increased cooperation between researchers and government organizations is required in order to improve surveillance and increase the availability of cancer data.


  1. Moore SP, Antoni S, Colquhoun A, et al. Cancer incidence in indigenous people in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA: a comparative population-based study [published online ahead of print ]. Lancet Oncol. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00232-6.