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Cultural issues in the development of cancer control programs for American Indian populations.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.


Cancer is the third-leading cause of death among American Indians. The persistent disadvantage in cancer survival rates among American Indian populations emphasizes the importance of developing effective cancer control programs for prevention and early detection. However, substantial cultural differences between American Indians and whites can affect the success of these programs. This paper examines the concept of cultural sensitivity in the context of developing cancer control programs for American Indian populations. It explores fundamental differences in beliefs, behaviors, and values between American Indian and white majority cultures, and presents examples of culturally sensitive health education programs. The paper highlights insights and experiences gained in developing the North Carolina Native American Cervical Cancer Prevention Project, and gives recommendations for the development of future programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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