BC now has a cancer care strategy aimed at improving care, support, and outcomes for Indigenous peoples across the province.
The strategy announced by the First Nations Health Authority, the province, and other partners addresses cancer from prevention through to survivorship with a focus on delivering culturally safe care.
Improving Indigenous Cancer Journeys: A Road Map, focuses on six piority areas:
• 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.
Annette Morgan, President of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, says the partnership can help address systemic racism that Indigenous people continue to face in the health system.
Morgan, who is also Executive Director of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Smithers, says while many staff with the BC Cancer Agency have taken Indigenous cultural safety training, the first point of contact in the health system is the family doctor, and she notes that few have chosen to take the training.