Lung Cancer

"Cancer is the second most common cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Native people, accounting for one out of every six deaths. Of the fatal cancers, by far the most common is lung cancer..........Lung cancer rates have been steadily increasing for American Indians and Alaska Natives since the 1960s (36).”
Lung cancer is the number one cancer site in the Cherokee Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Service Area (CNTJSA) and is also the deadliest. This type of cancer is most often diagnosed at the later stages, when very little treatment options are available.
“Because no effective screening strategies are currently available, primary prevention, through a reduction in tobacco smoking, remains the only realistic strategy to control this globally dominant malignancy (30).” 
Once a patient is suspected of having lung cancer, through initial testing, secondary testing is done through a Contract Health Service (CHS) referral system, where the patient is referred to hospitals outside of the CNTJSA. This is due to the scarce resources that are available for cancer patients in the CNTJSA. 
Lung Cancer in the United States
Lung cancer was once thought to be a rare disease until the twentieth century, when more cases were identified. It is now one of the most reported malignant neoplasms in men and women in the United States, with women being diagnosed almost as frequently as men. Cancer of the lung and bronchus has the highest mortality rate for both men and women in the United States, with more than 150,000 deaths reported in 2003. It is the second most common form of cancer in both men and women in the United States (31).


Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan

The Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control (CNCCC) Project assists in the development of networks and collaboration that produce an infrastructure for a comprehensive approach to cancer within the Cherokee Nation. Since 2003, coalition members and partners have come together to discuss the burden of cancer in Cherokee Nation. Coalition members and partners include local, regional, state and national representatives committed to identifying areas of cancer concern, planning interventions, prioritizing greatest areas of identified need, and then implementing identified strategies and/or providing needed resources. This is the second edition of the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan and will serve, like the first, as an information resource for health care professionals and community members, as well as a tool for the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and its respective entities. The coalition is committed to the process of enhancing infrastructure for comprehensive cancer control in the Cherokee Nation with the ultimate goal of reducing morbidity and mortality among the Cherokee community.