Objectives: To describe the occurrence of pancreatic, biliary tract, and gallbladder cancers within the Alaska Native (AN) population.
Study design: Population-based analysis utilizing a tumor registry and comparative population data.
Methods: Pancreaticobiliary cancers rates for AN people during 1973-2007 were determined from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) AN Tumor Registry. Cancer incidence rates were age-adjusted to the World Standard Million and compared over 2 time periods with US white and black rates.
Results: During 1973-2007, 213 AN people developed pancreatic cancer, 73 gallbladder cancer and 61 biliary tract cancer. Pancreatic cancer occurs at similar rates in AN men and women, but data for 1993-2007 indicate that the rates among AN men may be increasing. The incidence rate in AN women (9.5/100,000) was statistically higher than in US white women (5.8/100,000). The incidence for biliary tract cancer in AN men and gallbladder cancer in AN men and women is statistically higher than that for US whites and blacks.
Conclusions: Pancreaticobiliary cancers, particularly biliary tract and gallbladder cancers, in both AN men and women and pancreatic cancer in women occur at an increased rate in AN people. Risk factors relating to the elevated rate are discussed. Certain factors are potentially modifiable, such as the use of tobacco and obesity.