VA study reveals unique cancer patterns in Native American and Alaska Native veterans, informing tailored care and prevention efforts.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) did a study on cancer rates in Native American and Alaska Native veterans. They looked at over 140,000 Native veterans who got care from the VA. The goal was to learn more about cancer patterns to improve care.

The study found Native veterans had lower rates of the most common cancers compared to veterans of other races. But they had higher rates of other cancers like stomach, kidney, and liver cancer. Native women specifically had elevated gallbladder cancer rates. Overall cancer risk depended on tribal affiliation and where veterans lived. The VA will use this information to make cancer screening and treatment better for Native populations. More effort is needed to understand reasons for higher rates of some cancers.

The next steps are developing customized prevention and care programs based on tribe, geography, lifestyle and other factors.

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