A Chickasaw physician is raising awareness and searching for a cure to colorectal cancer affecting Native Americans. It is the second deadliest cancer afflicting Native citizens, according to the Indian Health Service.
With an eye toward prevention coupled with symptom recognition, Dr. David Perdue said he believes his studies may be the catalyst for reversing these dire statistics.
Perdue, a gastroenterologist at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, recently shared his findings with a group of health care professionals at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, Okla.
“It is gratifying to see a Chickasaw physician involved in work which will enable us to continue enhancing the quality of healthcare we offer,” said Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. “Bringing this type of information and training to providers nationwide is vital to improving healthcare for Native Americans across the country.”
Perdue’s presentation, Grand Rounds No. 5767 Colorectal Cancer Disparities Among American Indians: Data from the Trenches, provides detailed information on the importance of recognizing colorectal cancer signs, symptoms, treatments and preventive measures for American Indians.
Perdue’s Ada presentation focused on understanding the gastrointestinal cancer differences occurring within the American Indian and Alaskan Native populations. Native Americans suffer from certain types of cancers, among them lung and colorectal cancers, more frequently than any other group, statistics show.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
“Dr. Perdue’s presentation on his work with cancer in American Indians brings into sharp focus the realities of the cancer health disparities that exist for Native people,” said Bobby Saunkeah, program manager of epidemiology, research and public health for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health. “It is very rewarding to see a Chickasaw physician contributing such important work to the care of Indian people nationally.”
In many instances of colorectal cancer, patients do not know the signs and symptoms. Dr. Perdue provided information to be passed along from doctor to patient.