Courage, compassion and connection, and the journey to healing: exploring cancer pre-diagnosis for Nunatsiavut Inuit

Bent, Jennifer E. (2023) Courage, compassion and connection, and the journey to healing: exploring cancer pre-diagnosis for Nunatsiavut Inuit. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Cancer is a chronic disease that has become increasingly prevalent in Indigenous populations within recent decades in Canada. Many risk factors contribute to the high rates of cancer for Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples have endured a history of colonialism, loss of culture, and dispossession of land. Indigenous peoples in the country present with later-stage cancers. This project was led by the Nunatsiavut Government in collaboration with the other Indigenous governments and organizations in Labrador: NunatuKavut Community Council, Mushuau Innu First Nation, and Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, and explored the journey one must undergo to be diagnosed with cancer in Labrador, called the pre-diagnosis journey. Culturally safe approaches to data collection were used. We adopted a decolonizing approach with qualitative methods. This thesis will focus on findings from Nunatsiavut communities. Sharing circles and interviews were conducted with n= 32 participants. Thematic coding resulted in six themes: 1) Access and Supports; 2) Prolonged Investigation; 3) Travel; 4) Communication; 5) Fear and Anxiety; and 6) Being your own Health Advocate. Patients discussed challenges they encountered during their pre-diagnosis journey, and ways to improve their experience. There is a need for cultural-safety training for healthcare workers, a local cancer support group, accessible mental health services and educational materials about cancer. This thesis can be used to inform policy recommendations to enhance healthcare, and increase awareness of useful resources that can improve the pre-diagnosis journey.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16114
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-107)
Keywords: health services, rural and remote, community-based participatory research, cancer care, Indigenous
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Community Health
Date: October 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Neoplasms--Newfoundland and Labrador; Chronic Disease--Newfoundland and Labrador; Health Services--Newfoundland and Labrador; Indigenous Peoples--Newfoundland and Labrador; Inuit—Nunatsiavut

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