Background: Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is rare; however, it disproportionately affects the American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) population. The purpose of the study was to characterize GBC among AI/AN in the US population.
Methods: Cases of GBC diagnosed between 1999 and 2004 and collected by state-based cancer registries were included. Registry records were linked with Indian Health Service (IHS) administration records to decrease race misclassification of AI/AN. GBC rates and/or percent distributions for AI/AN and non-Hispanic whites (NHW) were calculated by sex, IHS region, age, and stage for all US counties and IHS Contract Health Service Delivery Area (CHSDA) counties, in which approximately 56% of US AI/AN individuals reside.
Results: In CHSDA counties, the GBC incidence rate among AI/AN was 3.3 per 100,000, which was significantly higher than that among NHW (P < .05). Rates varied widely among IHS regions and ranged from 1.5 in the East to 5.5 in Alaska. Rates were higher among AI/AN females than males in all regions, except the Northern Plains. Higher percentages of GBC were diagnosed among AI/AN aged <65 years compared with NHW. GBC was most often diagnosed at the regional stage among AI/AN, whereas GBC was most often diagnosed at regional or distant stages among NHW.
Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge to date, this is the most comprehensive study of GBC incidence among AI/AN in the US. The accurate characterization of GBC in this population could help inform the development of interventions aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality from this disease.