Indigenous men have more serious and later-stage prostate cancer when they’re diagnosed than non-Indigenous men, a new Canadian study says.
“It is very clear from this data that Indigenous men are at higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than non-Indigenous men,” said Dr. Adam Kinnaird, senior author of the study and the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Alberta.
The study, published Monday in the journal Cancer, looked at prostate cancer screening data among almost 1.5 million men in Alberta between 2014 and 2022. They were all between 50 and 70 years old.
Using postal codes, the researchers found that men in First Nations and Métis communities were much less likely to have had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test — the method used to screen for prostate cancer — than men living outside of Indigenous communities.
“Non-Indigenous men are having their PSA test done 50 per cent more often than Indigenous men are. And that’s a pretty big difference,” Kinnaird said.
The lack of screening, he said, could be a contributing factor to the study’s other major finding — that at the time of diagnosis, prostate cancer in Indigenous men was more advanced and more aggressive than in non-Indigenous men.
That finding was based on the tumour characteristics of 6,049 men diagnosed with prostate cancer who were seen at urology referral centres at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Jason Pennington, a surgeon at the Scarborough Health Network and the Indigenous lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program in Ontario, said the results are “not surprising.”
“(They are) actually supporting findings that we’ve been getting from Ontario,” said Pennington, who was not involved in the study and is a member of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
“This is what we see across Canada and across Indigenous populations around the world.”
One weakness of the study, Kinnaird said, is that because it relied on postal codes, it couldn’t compare the rate of PSA testing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous men living in cities.
About half of the Indigenous population lives in cities, he said, and researchers will be looking at data in another Alberta study to try to find testing rates for urban Indigenous men.
Kinnaird’s team also plans additional research to determine whether or not there might be a genetic factor that could make Indigenous men more prone to aggressive prostate cancer, he said.
That’s something that occurs in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, he said.
The study did not look at whether or not prostate cancer was more or less prevalent overall among Indigenous men — just at screening rates and severity at diagnosis.
There are many possible reasons Indigenous men are both tested less and suffer more advanced prostate cancer, Pennington said.
Lack of access to a primary-care provider to get screened is a likely factor, he said, along with social determinants of health, such as poverty, which could make it difficult for someone to take time off work to get a PSA test.
Kinnaird said it’s critical that health-care providers are aware of the inequity of prostate cancer screening.
“It’s something that’s important for Indigenous men, for family physicians, for nurse practitioners and for urologists to bear in mind that when you are seeing an Indigenous man in your clinic that you are really thinking about whether you need to screen for prostate cancer,” he said.
Indigenous distrust of the health-care system is another potential factor behind lower screening rates, Pennington said.
“Every Indigenous person I know, every Indigenous family I know, has had negative experiences in our health-care system,” he said.
One promising solution is holding community screening days, Pennington said, where Indigenous “patient navigators” and Indigenous nursing staff are present to answer questions and provide a culturally safe environment. Families can go together to help them feel more comfortable, he said.
That approach also works in remote Indigenous communities with mobile screening buses, he said.
Pennington said the time has come to implement more of these types of culturally safe Indigenous strategies and measure their success.
“We’re starting to have quite a bit of evidence now regarding the lower screening, the higher stages (of cancer), the poor outcomes,” he said.
“It’s about time we start doing something about it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2023.
Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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