Research focuses on American Indian Breast Cancer Risk Reduction

Survival RocksThe Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies is teaming up with PECaD to address cancer disparities in the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) population. In the St. Louis region, there are roughly 11,968 American Indians and 181 Alaska Natives, but no resources specifically serving AI/AN women.  Among these women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death. The Buder Center is working with Siteman Cancer Center and PECaD to provide AI/AN women access to mammography and increase awareness of cancer prevention strategies.

The Buder Center has established relationships with community members who will be critical to the evaluation and implementation of cancer prevention strategies in the AI/AN populations. Members of the workgroup are creating culturally appropriate educational material to increase education and help train volunteers for a future statewide event in addition to meetings with AI/AN community members. Additionally, community members have been asked to participate in pre-and post- assessment surveys for researchers to better understand how to improve health literacy in the AI/AN populations.


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The work currently being done should provide additional knowledge about AI/AN health knowledge, ways and prevention strategies to implement to reduce cancer burdens in the specific populations, as well as build relationships between health resources and community members. Access to healthcare is also an invaluable part of this project. A long term goal of the project is to establish yearly events that do provide breast cancer screenings and follow up healthcare to AI/AN women.

The photos to the right are of American Indian women at a breast cancer screening at the 2016 Washington University Pow Wow in April. Each woman wrote why screenings were important to her.

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