BC Cancer is partnering with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to launch a province-wide cancer screening promotion campaign. The campaign was made possible with generous funding support from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC).
The purpose of the campaign is to increase knowledge about BC Cancer's screening services for breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer, and focuses on who is eligible for these screening services and how to access them. By increasing awareness about existing services, the campaign aims to improve regular access to cancer screening services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people living in British Columbia (BC). Regular access to cancer screening can help detect cancer earlier, and may lead to better health outcomes.
The campaign features health leaders who share information about cancer screening to empower and support individuals in taking control of their own wellness journey. It encourages people to get screened as early as possible and points to the connections between individual and community wellness through the campaign slogans: Honour Yourself, Honour Your Family, Honour Your Community and Honour Your Ancestors. Screen regularly for cancer as a part of your wellness. Early detection can save your life.
“Early detection is a major factor in increased cancer survival rates. For this reason it is important that First Nations people stay up to date with age-appropriate cancer screenings, including for breast, colon, cervical, prostate, and lung cancer. You should make an appointment with your primary care provider if you have any sign or symptom that is new, different, troubling you, continues to worsen, and/or is not going away".
Dr. Nel Wieman, Acting Chief Medical Officer, FNHA
Cancer affects everyone, whether as a patient, as a survivor or knowing someone with a diagnosis.
Rates of certain types of cancer such as colon and cervical cancer are significantly higher for First Nations people in BC than other residents. For many types of cancer early detection can lead to better health outcomes. There are a number of efforts underway to improve access to primary health care for First Nations in BC, including the establishment of new primary care centres and efforts to improve safety in health care. Over time, it is expected that these efforts will help to improve cancer screening rates and health outcomes for First Nations people in BC.
“Some of our initial surveillance findings show that screening participation is lower for First Nations when compared to other BC residents. We know that early detection through screening increases the chance of survival and can save lives. This campaign is about how screening is not just about your own health, it's for our children, our families and our communities and is something we should encourage and support each other to do".
Warren Clarmont, Provincial Director, Indigenous Cancer Control, BC Cancer
Trends in screening rates and cancer diagnoses provide insight into the health of First Nations people across BC and help to inform decisions and strategies that better meet the needs of First Nations people.
This campaign is a part of broader ongoing partnership work between the FNHA and BC Cancer. Both organizations continue to work towards the goals and objectives of the provincial Indigenous cancer strategy in BC, Improving Indigenous Cancer Journeys in BC: A Road Map. In addition to this campaign work, the FNHA and BC Cancer are working on a number of different initiatives together with the aim that First Nations, Métis and Inuit community members in BC receive better health service and experience better health care outcomes.
For more information, visit fnha.ca/cancer.