Indian Country Today Media Network (11.11.2013)
Indian Country Today Media Network reported that Native Americans in the US Northern Plains have a higher rate of HPV-related cancer morbidity and mortality than whites in the same area and Native Americans in other regions, and are two to three times more likely to be infected with cervical cancer than white women living in the same region. Dr. Delf Schmidt-Grimminger, a scientist with Avera Research Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D., discussed the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) and the benefit of the HPV vaccine and cultural-specific education among American Indian women. He spoke at a symposium on November 5 in Eagle Butte, S.D., on HPV and related cancers. Approximately 75 Cheyenne River Health Care providers, health department officials, and others attended the symposium.
Schmidt-Grimminger noted that HPV prevalence is three times higher in American Indian women than in the rest of the US population; approximately 70 of every 100 American Indian women ages 18–24 is infected. He advocated vaccinating both girls and boys as well as administering Pap tests to significantly reduce the incidence of cancer caused by this virus. Schmidt-Grimminger also commented on the need to continue sharing knowledge with other communities for additional funding to continue HPV vaccinations to save more lives.
Ann LeBeau, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member working in behavioral health counseling, commented on the need for information dissemination to the community on cancer prevention. Le Beau also mentioned patients’ reluctance to share personal information in their medical history with providers.
Gayle Dupris, residential aid at the Women’s Half-Way House at Cheyenne River, emphasized the need for education tailored to the community. Additional comments included the need for more outreach programs and education in the schools, and more culturally appropriate resources.