Improving Indigenous Cancer Journeys: A Road Map is the result of a multi-year partnership between BC Cancer, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC). Only the second of its kind in the country, its priorities are in line with the calls to action for health by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The strategy addresses all aspects of cancer, from prevention through to survivorship with a focus on delivering culturally safe cancer care. Specifically, its six priority areas include:
• developing partnerships between the health system and Indigenous communities;• working with Indigenous communities to help prevent cancer before it starts;• increasing access and participation in colon, cervical and breast cancer screening;• promoting cultural safety and humility in cancer care services;• supporting Indigenous cancer survivorship and end-of-life experiences; and• improving knowledge of Indigenous cancer experiences.
• developing partnerships between the health system and Indigenous communities;
• working with Indigenous communities to help prevent cancer before it starts;
• increasing access and participation in colon, cervical and breast cancer screening;
• promoting cultural safety and humility in cancer care services;
• supporting Indigenous cancer survivorship and end-of-life experiences; and
• improving knowledge of Indigenous cancer experiences.
The strategy is reflective of B.C.'s unique Indigenous landscape and includes actions to directly improve the cancer experience for all Indigenous peoples, including First Nations with and without status living at home or away from home, Métis citizens or self-identified Métis and Inuit peoples. Insight was gained from engagement over a number of years with Indigenous cancer patients, survivors and their families.
The partners commit to support improved health outcomes for all Indigenous peoples in BC when it comes to cancer, and commit to support the ongoing partnership development between Indigenous peoples and communities and health system partners.
Improving Indigenous Cancer Journeys in BC (PDF 6.86 MB)
• The First Nations Health Authority’s (FNHA) approach to health and wellness• Overview of cancer incidence and survival rates for First Nations people in BC• Information on preventing cancer• Cancer-related community resources
Living With Cancer resource
The “Living with Cancer: Everyone Deserves Support”, resource includes culturally appropriate and safe information on patient rights and navigating the cancer journey. The information is told through the stories of Indigenous cancer patients and their families who have gone through a cancer journey.
Marion Erickson from the Nak'azdli Whut'en Nation in northern BC shared her story of getting screened for cervical cancer through a video interview with the FNHA and BC Cancer.
Her video testimonial encourages viewers to get regular pap tests, highlights the need for culturally safe screening where healthcare providers recognize the historical trauma that continues to affect Indigenous people when accessing screening. She also shares in the video that after her treatment, she felt compelled to write her doctor a letter sharing her experience with intergenerational trauma. The doctor then asked to share a snippet of Marion's letter with her medical students.
"It was my hope that this video would be an insightful resource for non-Indigenous healthcare providers in helping to understand Indigenous women's trauma and how trauma can impact our health outcomes. Culturally-informed care needs to begin right from the medical school classroom to the emergency room, to the physician's office. I encourage Indigenous women to keep their own health in mind this World Cancer Day and schedule their pap tests when needed," said Erickson.
Regular Pap tests can prevent cancer - people that are 25-69 and have a cervix should get a Pap test every three years. Those with a cervix should talk with a health care provider about getting screened.
Watch Marion’s story here:
Download Cervical Screening Posters here.