Cancer Overall in the Cherokee Nation

Cancer is a major illness and is the second leading cause of death in the Cherokee Nation. Lung cancer is a leading cancer for Cherokee native Americans.

The top five incidence rates for cancer in Cherokee Nation are:

  1. Lung
  2. Breast
  3. Prostate
  4. Colorectal
  5. Cervix

Below is information on types of cancer and their risk factors.

Lung Cancer
portrait of a young native american man

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Radon (radioactive gas)
  • Personal History of Lung Cancer
Breast Cancer
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  • Getting Older
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Genetic Mutations
  • Early Menstruation
  • Late/No Pregnancy
Prostate Cancer
Portrait of mature native american man

  • Age
  • Race/Ethinicity
  • Gene Changes
  • Chemical Exposures
Colorectal Cancer
portrait of a mature native american woman

  • Certain Types of Diets
  • Having Type II Diabetes
  • A Personal History of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Cervical Cancer
young native american woman posing alone

  • HPV Infection
  • Chlamydia Infection
  • Long-term IUD and Birth Control Pill Use
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Having Multiple Full-Term Pregnancies
Other Risk Factors
Two men talking

  • Sunlight
  • Cigarette Smoking & Commercial Tobacco Use
  • Alcohol Use
  • Poor Diet
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Being Overweight/Obese
  • Family History

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, such as exposure to ionizing radiation, chemicals or other substances can also increase risk. Family history of cancer may also increase risk.

Summer Time and Tanning

A Base Tan Is Not a Safe Tan. There is a common misconception that a tan acts as the body’s natural protection against sunburn. The Burning Truth: A tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays, showing that damage has been done. A “base tan” only provides a sun protection factor (SPF) of about 3 or less, which does little to protect you from future UV exposure.

Protective Factors

Protective factors include:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Staying at a healthy weight
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Abstaining from tobacco, alcohol or other harmful substances

Regular doctor visits and cancer screenings can assist with early detection and may improve treatment outcomes.

Resources

Cherokee Nation Health Facilities

Sam Hider Health Center – Jay, OK:  1-877-293-4271

Three Rivers Health Center- Muskogee, OK:  1-918-781-6500

A-MO Salina Health Center- Salina, OK:  1-877-434-8500

Redbird Smith Health Center- Sallisaw, OK:  1-877-797-9159

Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center- Stilwell, OK:  1-877-747-8800

Will Rogers Health Center- Nowata, OK:  1-877-373-0192

Bartlesville Health Center- Bartlesville, OK:  1-918-336-0823

Vinita Health Center- Vinita, OK:  1-918-323-0194

W. W. Hastings Hospital- Tahlequah, OK: 1-877-838-3100 (OK-only) or 1-918-453-3100

Other Contact Information

Andrea Carpitcher, RN, Program Manager

Cherokee Nation Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Contact number: (918) 453-5000

andrea-carpitcher@cherokee.org

Charles Grim, Deputy Executive Director, Health Services

Cherokee Nation Health Services

(918) 453-5000

charles-grim@cherokee.org

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