Preventing Cancer by Taking Care of Our Wholistic Wellness



Saturday, Feb. 4 marks World Cancer Day

A message from Dr. Kelsey Louie, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer


Cancer is a disease that touches us all in some way, either directly as a cancer patient, survivor, or as a friend or family member of someone with cancer.

It is important to know that many cancers can be prevented by focusing on your wholistic wellness. As well, personal choices and support systems (e.g. family) can make a big difference.

Taking care of our wholistic wellness is an important part of achieving and maintaining our best health, and being as strong, vibrant and happy as possible.

“Wholistic wellness" refers to the interconnectedness of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of ourselves and our health (i.e., the whole person). We are truly well when we feel balanced in all of these aspects.

The First Nations Perspective on Health and Wellness is rooted in these ideals. It expands on the Western concept of health, which is typically focused on physical health and the absence of illness or disease. Traditional First Nations views of health are based on the concept that our health and wellness can only be understood as parts of a whole and are inextricably connected.

It's important to take time to think about what's important to us personally, what activities make us feel balanced, who makes us feel accepted and valued, and what the connections are between the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts of ourselves – then to regularly include these practices and people in our lives.

It's great when we can find things that support more than one aspect of our health. For example, physical activities like fishing, hunting, berry-picking and gardening are not only good for our bodies, they also support our emotions, minds, and spirits because we're outside, breathing fresh air, and connecting with the land and water. If we're doing these activities with loved ones or while providing for loved ones, even better!

Below are some of the things we can do to promote our health wholistically and in turn prevent some of the most commonly diagnosed cancers:

  • Eating healthy. This can include integrating traditional whole foods into our diets. 
  • Being active. Movement from physical activity such as walking, fishing, and gardening.
  • Nurturing mind and spirit. Drumming, reconnecting with language, spending time on the land.
  • Avoiding or reducing alcohol. Reducing alcohol can improve your overall health and lessen your chance of getting cancer.
  • Respecting tobacco and quitting commercial tobacco. Quitting smoking cigarettes can be difficult but there is help available.
  • Getting an HPV vaccine if you are eligible.
  • Being sun safe. Sunscreen, hats, and proper protection from the sun can prevent melanoma from developing later in life. 

I hope that this message has shared helpful information to support you in your own wholistic wellness!

Visit to learn more about cancer prevention, screening, treatment, recovery and more.​

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