Cancer ACCESS: Attitudes Towards Cancer in Indigenous Communities & Examining Uptake of Cancer Screening Services

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death amongst Indigenous people living in Northern Canada. However, amongst this population, use of cancer screening services is low and is particularly true in the most remote communities where there are limited health services and facilities. Screening for cancer can lead to earlier detection and a more favorable prognosis.For these reasons, the Cancer ACCESS Project aims to learn of the thoughts and attitudes toward cancer and cancer screening among Indigenous people living in remote Arctic communities. Additionally this study will identify the barriers that exist to screening, find ways to increase cancer screening uptake levels and, ultimately, improve cancer awareness. The study will focus on the communities of Inuvik and Fort Good Hope, both located in the Northwest Territories.

Both scientific methods (interviews and data collection) as well as community focused strategies (the creation of a Community Advisory Board) will be utilized. As an initial means of assessing the current literature a systematic review was published describing the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of indigenous people towards screening around the world.

Now that the data have been collected, the team is beginning to build on the results and work on educational materials to improve knowledge around cancer and cancer screening services and experiences when accessing these services in full collaboration with the participating communities. This program is currently being funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories.

The Inuvik title for the ACCESS project is HOPEHelping Our People through Education.




The Fort Good Hope title for the ACCESS project is GOBA, which means “light on the horizon”.