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Disparity in Lung Cancer Survival Rates

new respiratory publication meakins-christie

A new study highlights a significant disparity in lung cancer survival rates between residents of Nunavik in northern Quebec and those in Montreal, despite both groups receiving treatment at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal. The research was led by Dr. Faiz Ahmad Khan of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). The research compared the outcomes of Nunavik and Montreal residents diagnosed with lung cancer. Findings revealed that Nunavik residents, who must travel over 1400 km for care due to limited local resources, have shorter survival times even when the stage of cancer and other factors are accounted for (including cancer stage, performance status, and comorbidity).

The study was conducted in collaboration with Nunavik community representatives, suggests that chronic underfunding and lack of resources in Nunavik’s healthcare services are key factors contributing to these outcomes, rather than a genetic predisposition among Inuit populations. Dr. Khan emphasizes the need for improved access to healthcare and Inuit representation in healthcare services to address these disparities.

Recommendations from the study include implementing Inuit-specific smoking cessation programs, making lung cancer screening more accessible and culturally sensitive, enhancing local lung health services, and developing a lung cancer care plan tailored to the needs of the Nunavik Inuit. Additionally, it suggests training Inuit health navigators to support patients in Montreal and calls for increased funding to bolster healthcare services in Nunavik. Dr. Khan also points out that these findings should support efforts towards greater self-governance for the Nunavik Inuit, allowing for more control over healthcare policies and funding to better meet their needs.

This study reinforces the need for targeted interventions to improve lung cancer survival rates among Nunavik residents and highlights the broader context of health disparities faced by Inuit populations in Canada.

Read more about the Study

Health care inequities behind shorter life spans for Inuit from Nunavik with lung cancer. A new study shows that people living in the Inuit region of Nunavik in northern Quebec die earlier after a diagnosis of lung cancer than Montreal residents receiving treatment at the same cancer centre. MUHC News. February 20, 2024.

Moins de services, plus grande mortalité. Étude sur le cancer du poumon au Nunavik. par Ariane Lacoursière. La Presse. 20 février, 2024

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Chen Y, MacIsaac S, Young M, Ahodakin M, Jeagal LW, Boucher M, Agulnik J, Boulanger N, Camilleri-Broët S, Ezer NGonzalez AV, Owen S, Pepe C, Spicer J, Wang H, White-Dupuis S, Watt L, Grey M, Benedetti AAhmad Khan FNunavimmi puvakkut kaggutimik aanniaqarniq: Qanuilirqitaa? Lung cancer in Nunavik: How are we doing? A retrospective matched cohort studyCMAJ 2024 February 20;196:E177-86. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.230682.

Read more in the news

Her mom’s lung cancer was caught too late. It’s part of a pattern in Nunavik. New study points to pattern of high mortality among Inuit patients, by Rachel Watts, CBC News, February 27, 2024

Lung Cancer Survival Worse Among Canadian Inuit in Nunavik Territory of Quebec. Residents of an Inuit territory in Canada have worse survival following a diagnosis of lung cancer than similar patients living in Montreal, according to a new study. By Gwendolyn Rak, Medscape, February 26, 2024.