New Cancer Model Aims to Reduce Cancer Deaths in Newcomer Communities

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Local partners in cancer care have joined forces to increase the early detection of cancer and reduce cancer mortality rates among newcomer and immigrant populations in London. The collaborative effort will help to improve the overall health for individual Canadians and reduce the cost burden of cancer care.

The South West Regional Cancer Program, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, Cross Cultural Learner Centre, London InterCommunity Health Centre, and Middlesex-London Health Unit, has received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to develop and implement a cancer prevention and screening delivery model that targets hard-to-reach communities that have below average provincial screening rates for breast, cervical and colon cancer (newcomer and under/never screened populations). The new model will include screening tests that will help find cancer early, before there are symptoms. Screening tests also help to prevent cancer by finding changes in the body that would become cancer if left untreated.

The project team will work closely with representatives from the Nepalese and Iraqi populations – two emerging newcomer groups in London, as well as members of the Spanish and Arabic speaking populations, to identify and reduce barriers that limit their access to cancer information and screening.

According to Statistics Canada, immigrants’ health is generally better than that of the Canadian-born. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “healthy immigrant effect”. Studies show however, that the health of these immigrants tends to decline as their years in Canada increase.

“One in five people in London were immigrants in 2006 and 3.5% of the population immigrated to London within the previous five years,” says Adriana Diaz Rodriguez, PHAC Project Lead at the South West Regional Cancer Program. “The financial support from PHAC will allow us to create and implement programs designed to empower visible minority populations to participate in cancer screening programs in culturally safe environments.”