Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people. Many cancers can be prevented. To understand the unique pattern of cancer among Alaska Native people, Dr. Anne Lanier and colleagues established the Alaska Native Tumor Registry (ANTR). The ANTR has been collecting cancer data for Alaska Native people since 1969. Since this time, these data have been used to help Alaska Native tribal health organizations understand the burden of cancer in their communities. The data have also been used in over 100 scientific publications, and 9 five-yearly reports. Our most recent five-year picture of cancer among Alaska Native people was published in 2015. Our Executive Summary of this report has been very useful to tribal health leaders in understanding this public health issue.
The ANTR is a population-based central cancer registry. This means we collect information from all over Alaska, not just from one hospital. We are funded by, and a member of, the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. This program, which includes 17 other registries nationwide, is known for its high-quality cancer data collection. Each year, the SEER program assesses the quality of data submitted by each of its registries. This year, we were pleased to be awarded a First-Place Award by the SEER Program for data quality. This means that we achieved all 14 of the data quality metrics established by SEER as benchmarks for having high quality data. This is the first time in ANTR’s history that we have been awarded a first-place award!