Jan 15, 2013- 4:25 PM
Hospital, Cancer Society partner to offer breast screening to isolated communities
That is why the Canadian Cancer Society, the Weenebayko Area Health Authority and Health Sciences North have partnered up to provide First Nations women from coastal communities with free transportation to mammogram appointments.
From Jan. 18 to 23, approximately 100 women living in the remote northeastern Ontario communities of Peawanuck, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Moosonee and Moose Factory will be transported by air or by ground transportation to appointments.
The one-time initiative is being funded by the RBC Foundation through the Canadian Cancer Society.
"For some women living in remote areas, the cost of getting to a screening appointment can be as high as $1,500 for travel by air alone," said Barbara Spencer, Canadian Cancer Society regional director for northeastern and northwestern Ontario.
In First Nations communities, the overall rate for new cancer cases doubled between 1968 and 2001. In addition, the five-year survival rate is also much lower than the general population.
"Research shows that, on average, First Nations women are diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer when compared with Ontario women, due in part to lower participation rates in screening," said Caroline Lidstone-Jones, chief quality officer with the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.
Screening will take place at the Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory through the Ontario Breast Screening Program for women between the ages of 50-74 who have never had a mammogram or who haven't been screened in the past two years.
"This is a very welcome initiative to ... improve the health of women in the communities along the James and Hudson Bay coast," said Mark Hartman, vice president of cancer services and medical imaging at the Northeast Cancer Centre.