PIRE Publication - Cancer Journey for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Pacific Northwest


To describe the experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native cancer survivors to improve understanding of the trajectory of cancer treatment. 
Qualitative focus group research.
Rural and geographically isolated American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the Pacific Northwest.
30 American Indian and Alaska Native cancer survivors or caregivers. 
The authors analyzed data from two focus groups with cancer survivors by using thematic analysis informed by indigenous methodologies.
Based on focus group findings, the authors developed a conceptual model of the cancer experience called Rough Waters. Participants described their cancer experience as a collective journey involving family and friends and requiring resources to offset challenges along the way. Dominant themes were delays, isolation, communication, money, advocacy, spirituality, and family involvement.
American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Pacific Northwest have special cultural needs during cancer care. The current study provides examples that can guide patient-provider interactions. Using the metaphor of cancer as a journey, clinicians can begin a dialogue to identify what will impede or assist the cancer journey for their American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

Haozous, E. A.
Doorenbos, A.
Alvord, L. A.
Flum, D. R.
Morris, A. M.