Launch of video series in Sudbury highlighting cancer screening

Health Sciences North and the Northeast Regional Cancer Program have launched a new video series called 'Conversations about Cancer.'

It's intended for Indigenous people of all ages who want to learn more about what cancer is and why screening can help save lives and improve patient outcomes.

The series includes five videos that educate and address the importance of screening for breast, colorectal, cervical and lung cancer.

The project is the result of community health consultations.

"When I became the regional Indigenous cancer lead, my team and I thought, let's get out in the communities and ask them what they think the barriers are and needs are within the cancer journey," said Dr. Erin Peltier, regional Indigenous cancer lead with the Northeast Regional Cancer Program.

"We went community to community and we found from health directors, from health centre staff that people aren't getting screened."

The videos are available in Cree, Ojibwe, English and French on the HSN website.

"Ojibway and Cree were really important because we want these videos to be accessible to all communities and all ages," said Marnie Anderson, indigenous engagement liaison with the Northeast Regional Cancer Program.

"We also got them closed-captioned for accessibility purposes (and) to be able to read and see at the same time. So it was really important for that piece because we are always trying to make health information accessible."

People involved in the project said there are unique barriers and inequities that prevent some Indigenous people from getting the care and information they need.

"Studies have shown that our people come in late, the cancer has already spread and it's Stage 4," said Peltier.

"The treatments don't work as well at that stage. So the main purpose is to get screened early, catch that cancer early, therefore lessening morbidity and mortality."

Partners in the project said the videos have a strong educational element.

"When you watch, it you're going to learn a lot about cancer screening," said Anderson.

"You are going to learn what ages you should be doing it, you might learn a little about the process. It really tries to remove that fear around cancer screening because often we are scared to do it."

Officials involved in the project said they hope the videos help to alleviate concerns about screening and add it's all about improving health outcomes for Indigenous patients and their families.