A National Picture

First Nations and Métis peoples' experiences of cancer

Exploring First Nations and Métis peoples' experiences of cancer stemmed from a pilot back in 2004, which aimed to bring individuals' experiences of breast cancer to the forefront. The results of this study, titled Visualizing Breast Cancer, were so thought-provoking that we expanded the study to encompass all of Canada. The follow-up study, entitled Visualizing Cancer Experiences: A National Picture, generated insightful outcomes of First Nations peoples' experiences with cancer. These outcomes launched a new partnership with Akwesasne, a First Nations community that participated in the National Picture study. Drs. Wendy Gifford and Roanne Thomas are Co-Principal Investigators on this new CIHR-funded project focused on knowledge translation, titled Breaking the Silence to Improve Cancer Survivorship Transistions: A Knowledge Translation Strategy. Further complementing the National study, in January 2017, Dr. Chad Hammond also began his new project with Kahnawake, another First Nations community involved with the National Picture project. Dr. Hammond is using digital storytelling to explore caregivers' experiences. His work is supported by a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship, supervised by Dr. Thomas. For a review of each of these studies, see below!

COMPLEMENTARY STUDY - Widening the Circle of Cancer Care: Digital Stories of Caregivers in a First Nations Community

Dr. Chad Hammond (postdoctoral fellow) is conducting a research study building on the National Picture Project. The purpose of this project is to explore the experiences of both informal (e.g., family members, friends) and formal (e.g., health professionals) First Nations' caregivers who support people with cancer in Kahnawake. As well, through his work, Dr. Hammond aims to identify caregivers' resources, needs, ad potential gaps in their support of people with cancer. He will be using various dissemination tools, largely focusing on Digitial Story Telling, which is a new way of demonstrating the stories of caregivers' experiences. Dr. Hammond began his work with the community in Spring 2017 and the project will be completed in June 2018. View Conference Poster, Hammond (2014) NAPCRG

KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION STUDY - Breaking the Silence to Improve Cancer Survivorship Transitions: A Knowledge Translation Strategy  

This study builds on our National Picture Project. As one of the first opportunities to voice their survivorship experiences, the National Picture findings overwhelmingly identified a gap in culturally sensitive health care approaches and community-based programs for cancer follow-up and psychosocial survivorship care. Participants identified the need for approaches and programs to include traditional medicines; holistic approaches to healing that incorporate spirituality, nautre, and ceremonies (such as sweat lodges, smudges, and sage burning); cultural understandings of cancer etiology and treatments; and the impact of residential schools' legacy on relations between Indigenous peoples and western institutions (including health care organizations). The overall goal of the latest study is to improve cancer survivorship and understand the process of translating knowledge into healthcare practices and community-based programs with people of Akwesasne Mohawk Community. 

A NATIONAL STUDY Visualizing Cancer Experiences: A National Picture

Poster picture National Picture project

The Universities of Ottawa, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, and the Saint Elizabeth First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Program collaborated on a study to explore experiences of cancer. Funding for this project was provided by the Canadian Cancer Society. The goal of the project was to gather and disseminate knowledge of cancer survivorship from the perspectives of FNIM women in diverse Canadian communities to establish a strong foundation for culturally responsive programs.

As health care providers increasingly recognize cancer survivorship as a complex phenomenon, it is critical to incorporate diverse perspectives and innovative ways of sharing knowledge.

Our research team includes: Roanne Thomas, Jennifer Poudrier, Wendy Gifford, Carolyn Brooks, Ryan Hamilton, Tricia Morrison, Tracy Scott, Chad Hammond, and Doris Warner. Together, we built on a successful pilot study on First Nations and Métis women's experiences of breast cancer (Thomas, Poudrier, Brooks), described below.

indian times

Our team has published the study protocol, which may provide guidance for other researchers interested in using photovoice. See additional published work here.

In completing the project, our team has also distributed a poster, a video, and local community summaries which are now all available here and were created in partnership with project participants and key stakeholders. 

The study was also featured in the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Connection section, check it out.

View Conference Poster, Gifford (2014)  

pilot studyPILOT STUDY - Visualizing Breast Cancer

Our pilot study addressed an under-researched topic within the psychosocial domain of survivorship. This research also enabled our team (Roanne Thomas, Jennifer Poudrier, Carolyn Brooks) to evaluate a new method of qualitative research (photography) in order to determine whether or not this is a useful approach to understanding experiences of breast cancer. Our findings were shared with support groups and the Breast Health Centre in Saskatoon. See our published work here

 NCIC Poster

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