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Glen Abernethy – Cancer Initiatives

Mr. Speaker, cancer rates have increased slightly over the last few years.  Even one case affects dozens of people.  Cancer Sharing Circles have been held in Fort Good Hope, Fort Resolution and Fort Liard to share information, facilitate dialogue and inform the development of local action plans to address this important issue.  The Cancer Sharing Circles showed us that we need to do more work on the services available for cancer patients and their families. Our smoking and drinking rates remain too high, and further improvements are needed with regard to healthy eating.

We have a number of initiatives that prevent cancer, including nutrition programs and anti-tobacco campaigns targeting schools across the NWT.  We have made a lot of progress in our fight against cancer.  We are able to better treat it and through early screening and detection, more and more people are surviving this disease. 

Mr. Speaker, cancer is a complex disease with many risk factors and causes.  People want help in understanding cancer rates and how to lower their risk.  Later today, I will table a new report on cancer in the NWT over the ten-year period 2001-2010.  This report examines the rates of new cancer cases, deaths due to cancer, ethnicity, stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis, and screening programs. 

Key findings in the Cancer Report indicate that cancer rates in the NWT have increased very little over the 10-year reporting period.

The Cancer Report will help us address gaps in the system.  It will be part of a new comprehensive and culturally relevant strategic plan to reduce cancer in the NWT and improve patients’ quality of life.  It shows us that we need to promote cancer screening and prevention under the leadership of the Chief Public Health Officer.  

Communities will continue to be key to our approach. We will continue to work with them to raise cancer awareness, improve access to cancer screening, and support individuals and their families throughout their cancer journeys.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.