Social Determinants of Cancer Risk Among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations: An Evidence Review and Map

Health Equity. 2022 Sep 21;6(1):717-728. doi: 10.1089/heq.2022.0097. eCollection 2022.


Objectives: To explore current literature on social determinants of health (SDOH) and cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations.

Methods: We searched Ovid MEDLINE®, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases for articles published during 2000 to 2020, which included terms for SDOH and cancer occurrence in AI/AN populations. We derived the data extraction elements from the PROGRESS-Plus framework. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)-Equity extension guided the evidence map.

Results: From 2180 screened articles, 297 were included. Most were observational (93.9%), employed a cross-sectional design (83.2%), were categorized as cancer occurrence and surveillance research (62%), and included no cancer-related risk factors (70.7%). Race, gender, and place were the most frequently included PROGRESS-Plus categories. Religion, relationship features, and characteristics of discrimination were least common. Only 12% of articles mentioned historical/current trauma or historical context.

Conclusions: Gaps exist in our understanding of SDOH as drivers of cancer disparities in AI/AN populations. Future studies in health equity science may incorporate historical and cultural factors into SDOH frameworks tailored for AI/AN populations.

Keywords: American Indian and Alaska Native; health equity; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Review