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Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada works to foster greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, to advocate for equality and social improvements, and to encourage the participation of Inuit women in the community, regional, and national life of Canada. Health has been a priority for Pauktuutit since it was incorporated in 1984.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Inuit populations. Compared to the general population of Canada, Inuit have a higher incidence of lung, liver, oesophageal, nasopharyngeal, and salivary cancer. Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is developing culturally appropriate cancer awareness tools and a toolkit to support community health representatives (CHRs) and health care providers working with Inuit cancer patients. Pauktuutit held a terminology forum with experts to develop an Inuktitut glossary of cancer-related terms to contribute to effective knowledge exchange of cancer information across the four Inuit regions of Canada.

The project used qualitative research methods to develop cancer related information for Inuit. An environmental scan of Inuit resources on cancer (literature review, internet search and key informant interviews with health care professionals) were done to complement existing resources and fill gaps. Knowledge-attitude-behaviour (KAB) focus group sessions were held to identify the most effective ways to raise cancer awareness and encourage cancer screening among Inuit populations; guide the development of plain-language culturally appropriate cancer awareness tools to support Inuit populations; and, to guide the development of a toolkit and an Inuktitut cancer glossary to assist CHRs and health care providers to deliver cancer information effectively. A terminology forum was held with language experts to ensure that cancer-related terms have suitable Inuktitut-equivalent wording for health literacy.

Pre- and post-evaluation and feedback forms will be administered to CHRs and health care professionals to assess the uptake and utility of the Inuit cancer project’s tools following their distribution.

The lack of proper Inuktitut terminology has resulted in fear, stigma and discrimination. It can also affect how an individual understands their illness and treatment options. It is hoped this resource will assist a broad range of health workers to communicate more effectively and accurately with their patients/clients dealing with cancer issues.

This project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). For this project, Pauktuutit partnered with national and territorial organizations, including: the Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Health and Social Development; Torngâsok Cultural Centre ; Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit (IUT), Nunavut; the Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut; Canadian Cancer Society (CCS); Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s Department of Social and Cultural Development; the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation; the Canadian Breast Cancer Network; Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services. The project is consistent with ITK’s Inuit cancer priorities to improve access to prevention, cancer screening and early detection among Inuit populations.

Kaggutiq also contains helpful explanations of commonly used terms and procedures. We hope you will find this resource useful, and we welcome your comments and feedback.