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Am J Public Health. 2005 Dec;95(12):2129-32. Epub 2005 Oct 27.

Cancer disparities research partnership in Lakota Country: clinical trials, patient services, and community education for the Oglala, Rosebud, and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes.

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Rapid City Regional Hospital, SD 57701, USA.


Native Americans served by the Aberdeen, Billings, and Bemidji areas of the Indian Health Service (IHS) have a cancer mortality rate approximately 40% higher than that of the overall US population. The National Cancer Institute has funded Rapid City Regional Hospital to provide clinical trials, behavioral research, a genetic protocol, patient navigator services (assisting patients with health care coordination and financial issues and helping them to understand their options), and community education for members of 3 western South Dakota tribes. Challenges faced by the project included obtaining multiple approvals from 3 tribes, 4 IHS facilities, and 5 institutional review boards; travel distances; lack of screening; red tape of referrals; and refusal by some payers to cover clinical trials. Building trust through ongoing communication and community presence is key to a successful project.

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