If you or someone you love has received a cancer diagnosis, there are a variety of supports available to you and things you can do to seek the best care possible. A primary health care provider, like a doctor or nurse practitioner, is there to provide care to you from diagnosis to after treatment. They can help to coordinate your care.
If you do not have a primary care provider, call 8-1-1 to try to find a provider that may be near you. You can also call the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day program at 1-855-344-3800.
A team of health care providers may support the different needs you may have. In addition to your primary health care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner), this may include Elders, traditional healers, specialists, social workers, mental health workers, community nurses and home support workers.
The treatment that is required for each person's type of cancer is unique and will be determined by factors including the location, stage and aggressiveness of the cancer. Three main types of cancer treatment are surgery, drug therapy and radiation.
Every BC Cancer Centre has various support programs as well as patient and family counselling services. Indigenous cancer patient navigators may also be available. You are encouraged to reach out to your regional BC Cancer Centre to learn more about what supports are available to you.
To learn more:
BC Cancer Services: Our Services
BC Cancer Centres and Clinics
Indigenous Cancer Patient Navigators
FNHA Living With Cancer Booklet
Canadian Cancer Society Videos and Handouts:
Cancer Basics – Coping When You're First Diagnosed with Cancer – YouTube
How to Get the Answers You Need – YouTube
Questions to Ask When You have Cancer – Canadian Cancer Society
Traditional, Cultural and Spiritual Wellness Supports
Traditional, cultural and spiritual wellness knowledge and practices may be an important part of your journey.
Examples of traditional, cultural or spiritual supports include:
You may have an interest in accessing both traditional and western medical practices as part of your cancer care. Communicate your wishes to your health care provider so that you can be best supported with the information and coordinated care you need.
If you need help connecting with a traditional, cultural or spiritual wellness support person, reach out to an informed community member or your local Indigenous health organization. Many FNHA regional teams have Traditional Wellness Coordinators. They can also be a helpful contact to learn more about local resources and connections. Reach out to your local FNHA regional team to learn more.
A variety of wholistic health supports and providers can help you through your cancer treatment journey. Cancer treatment can have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual impacts.
Consider connecting with supports that feel right for you in healing, such as:
All health authorities offer spiritual care services and many buildings have sacred spaces available for your use and policies in place to support cultural practices like smudging in hospitals and other settings. Spiritual health professionals are members of the health care team and are trained to provide comprehensive spiritual health care and emotional support to patients, families and health care staff. You can also request the support of a spiritual leader specific to your particular beliefs or religion.
To learn more:
HealthLinkBC Spirituality and Your Health Web Page
BC Cancer – Complementary and Alternative Therapies Web Page