Culturally Safe Cancer Care for Indigenous People: Nursing Practice Beyond the Rhetoric

Wendy Gifford

Catherine Larocque

Peggy Dick

culturally safe care, Indigenous People, racism, discrimination
CJON 2022, 26(4), 443-448. DOI: 10.1188/22.CJON.443-448

Cancer rates among Indigenous People are higher than among the general population. Indigenous populations have significantly higher cancer rates and lower five-year survival rates. Contributing factors are complex. Social inequity plays a role, including the ongoing legacy of colonialism, social exclusion, and systemic racism in the healthcare system. As a model of healthcare delivery, culturally safe care includes improving services and supports for Indigenous People. This article draws on previous and ongoing research involving Indigenous communities in Canada. It reviews the meaning of culturally safe care and describes how oncology nurses can practice culturally safe care for Indigenous People by combating racism, discrimination, and colonialism in their oncology nursing practice.

At a Glance:

  • Indigenous People have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than non-Indigenous people.
  • Culturally safe cancer care aims to improve cancer services and supports for Indigenous People.
  • Culturally safe cancer care requires an understanding of the pervasive and ongoing traumatic effects that systemic inequalities have created for Indigenous People.
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