Cancer-related health behaviors and health service use among Inuit and other residents of Canada’s north
James Ted McDonald
Objective – To identify the extent to which differences between Inuit and other residents of Canada’s North in a set of health behaviors and health service use related to cancer incidence and diagnosis can be accounted for by demographic, socio-economic and geographic factors. Study Design – Data on residents aged 21-65 who live in Canada’s North are drawn from the 2000-01 and 2004-05 Canadian Community Health Surveys and the 2001 Aboriginal People’s Survey. Methods – Multivariate Logistic regression analysis is applied to 1) a set of health behaviors including smoking, binge drinking and obesity, and 2) a set of basic health service use measures including consultations with a physician and with any medical professional, Pap smear testing and mammography. Results – Higher smoking and binge drinking rates and lower rates of female cancer screening among Inuit are not accounted for by differences in demographic characteristics, education, location of residence or distance from a hospital. Conclusions – Factors specific to Inuit individuals and communities may be contributing to negative health behaviors associated with increased cancer risk, and to a lower incidence of diagnostic cancer screening. Policy interventions to address these issues may need to be targeted specifically to Inuit Canadians.
Inuit, aboriginal, cancer screening, smoking, health
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