Cancer in First Nations People in Ontario

Friday, November 30, 2018

A new report developed jointly by Cancer Care Ontario, the Chiefs of Ontario and ICES reveals higher rates of several cancers and poorer survival from certain cancers in First Nations people compared to other people in Ontario.

Cancer in First Nations People in Ontario: Incidence, Mortality, Survival and Prevalence takes a detailed look at the unique burden of cancer in First Nations people in Ontario from 1991 to 2010. The data presented in the report highlights specific inequalities and supports the development of effective health policies and programs to prevent cancer and chronic disease in First Nations people.

 Key Findings (from 1991 to 2010 in Ontario):

  • First Nations people had higher rates of several cancers, including lung, colorectal, kidney and cervical cancers compared to other people in Ontario.
  • Colorectal cancer rates continued to rise in First Nations men and women, while rates decreased for other people in Ontario.
  • First Nations people had poorer survival from certain cancers compared to other people in Ontario, including breast, uterus and cervical cancer in women, and lung, prostate and oral cancer in men.  
  • Cervical cancer cases declined in First Nations women, approaching the rate among other women in Ontario.

The report calls for the development of prevention efforts that are specific to First Nations people in Ontario and led by First Nations communities. Efforts to reduce cancer risk factors among First Nations people will decrease the number of cancer cases, as well as other chronic diseases such as diabetes, and heart and respiratory diseases.

Cancer Care Ontario, the Chiefs of Ontario and ICES have worked in partnership to track cancer patterns in First Nations people in Ontario. This report is intended to provide First Nations communities and other decision-makers with a greater understanding of how cancer affects First Nations people in Ontario and to support them to develop effective policies and programs to help prevent cancer.

The report is aligned with Cancer Care Ontario’s Aboriginal Cancer Strategy III, which places a priority on relationship building, research and surveillance, prevention, screening, palliative and end-of-life care, and education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. It also supports the Chiefs of Ontario’s goal of providing First Nations with the information they need to take control of their health and well-being.  

A full copy of the report is available here.

Click here to learn more about our Aboriginal Patient Navigator who can help First Nations and other Aboriginal cancer patients and their families navigate the cancer system.