Duke University Medical Director and Professor of Surgery Dr. Maggie DiNome

Rachelle Begay, Epidemiology Student 

Duke University Medical Director and Professor of Surgery Dr. Maggie DiNome

 Dr. Robin Harris, pictured here with Project Collaborator Heidi Brown

Duke University Medical Director and Professor of Surgery Dr. Maggie DiNome

Krystelle Boyd, Epidemiology Student 

The John Wayne Cancer Foundation is pleased to fund the Navajo Healthy Stomach Project led by Dr. Robin B. Harris. With November being Stomach Cancer Awareness Month AND Native American Heritage Month, we couldn't think of a better time to help learn more about the prevention of this terrible disease.

We've shared below a summary written by Dr. Harris on the research she's conducting:

"Stomach cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer in the world and the 3rd most deadly. Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) is a stomach bacterial infection and a well-established cause for stomach cancer, in particular non-cardia stomach cancer. While the overall incidence of stomach cancer has declined in the US, the burden remains high for some populations, including American Indian populations in Arizona. The incidence of gastric cancer for Navajo Nation is nearly four times higher than among the non-Hispanic white populations. The prevalence of the infection, however, is less known as are risk factors for the infection. In 2018, our group, the Navajo Healthy Stomach Project, found 68% of 101 participants were H. pylori positive, but less than 25% of participants had heard of the infection. In Summer 2022, we completed an extension of the project recruiting an additional 200 Navajo men and women from three chapters, or political-geographic regions, at Navajo Nation. While analysis is ongoing, we saw continued high prevalence of H. pylori, low knowledge, and continued limitations for clean water. With funding from the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, we will: 1) complete a 6-month follow-up survey of the participants in the 2022 Navajo Healthy Stomach Project to assess barriers to treatment seeking and issues related to treatment compliance and 2) disseminate our findings to personnel and community partners at health care centers, chapters, and agencies of the Navajo Nation. This information can advance the knowledge necessary for the prevention and treatment of H. pylori infections and associated reduction of gastric cancer rates."  

To help Dr. Harris and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation fight cancer, please donate HERE.