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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2019;30(3):1237-1247. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2019.0084.

Using Tribal Data Linkages to Improve the Quality of American Indian Cancer Data in Michigan.


This study examines the extent to which data linkages between Indian Health Service, tribal data, and cancer registries affect cancer incidence rates among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in Michigan. The incidence of tobacco- and alcohol-associated cancers for 1995-2012 was analyzed to compare rates of the Upper Peninsula (UP) and Lower Peninsula (LP) in Michigan and among AI/ANs and non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs). Complete linkage resulted in 1,352 additional AI/AN cases; 141 cases were linked via IHS records alone, while 373 were linked via tribal records alone; 838 were linked through both IHS and tribal records. Age-adjusted incidence rates for AI/ANs increased from 214.39 per 100,000 to 405.41 per 100,000, similar to that of NHWs after complete linkage (421.46 per 100,000). In the UP, AI/ANs had age-adjusted incidence rates 1.67 times higher than NHWs (596.69 per 100,000 vs. 356.32 per 100,000 respectively). This study indicates a substantial number of AI/AN cancer cases remain misclassified in Michigan.


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