New South East Aboriginal Cancer Program provides service and support to Aboriginal patients

October 15, 2014

For many Aboriginal cancer patients, receiving care is much more than the therapy you get at a hospital. Traditional care, which can include rituals and spiritual counseling, is often an equally important part of their healing.

Cancer is rising more quickly in First Nations and Inuit people in the South East region. In First Nations communities, we find higher incidences of breast and colorectal cancer.  In Inuit communities, lung cancer rates are higher. And, survival of major cancers is worse in Aboriginal people. To ensure Aboriginal patients with cancer get the multi-faceted support they need, the new South East Aboriginal Cancer Program provides the services of an Aboriginal Patient Navigator.

Lynn Brant, Aboriginal Patient Navigator for the South East region, provides support and advocacy for First Nation, Inuit and Metis (FNIM) cancer patients and their families, across the South East region. She also facilitates and coordinates access to cancer services, palliative and supportive care, and addresses cultural and spiritual needs to improve their cancer journey and health outcomes.

“We provide specialized care, depending on the patient’s needs, and assist them in navigating the system,” says Lynn. “I can attend appointments with patients or just be an extra set of ears if they need to talk to someone. It truly just depends on the type of support they want.”

Lynn also performs cultural competency training for practitioners and traditional rituals, such as smudging, for patients and their care providers.

“We burn natural medicines and use the smoke to bathe ourselves,” she says. “It takes you to a place of peace and creates a presence of spirit and mindfulness.”

It was important to us to have someone in that role because we saw a huge need to support the Aboriginal communities as they receive care,” says Julia Niblett, Regional Director of the South East Regional Cancer Program.

To refer patients or their family members to Lynn, please call 613-549-6666 ext. 3851 or e-mail brantl@kgh.kari.net.

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