NEWS
03/31/2016 15:43 EDT | Updated 04/01/2017 01:12 EDT

First Nations people at greater risk of developing cancer: report

A new report put together by Cancer Care Ontario and the Chiefs of Ontario highlights increased cancer risk factors for aboriginal people living on reserve in Ontario.

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee told CBC News the report shows a need to address cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.

He said discussions with the provincial and federal governments are focused on addressing some issues.

"We are presently doing a review of the non-insured health benefits that will deal with transportation issues to medical facilities or dealing with [getting] the proper type of drugs that need to be administered in communities," he said.

Madahbee noted men and women on reserve are two- to three times more likely to smoke cigarettes.

He also said First Nation women have lower rates of breast cancer screening than their non-aboriginal counterparts.

Access to fruits and vegetables is one third that of other Ontarians, Madahbee added.

"There's health issues such as obesity due to poor nutrition and unhealthy diet. There needs to be more physical activity, obviously. There's high costs for healthy foods [like] the fruits and vegetables."

Madahbee said the report is useful to highlight appropriate prevention, education, research and surveillance in First Nations communities.

While the report said First Nations people on reserve are at higher risk, it says there isn't enough data to determine how much higher the cancer diagnosis or death rates are.