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Improving cancer care for African Nova Scotians

couple-stock photoLearning that you or someone close to you has cancer is life-changing, and because culture and life experience defines who we are, it is not surprising that our needs within the formal health system will vary accordingly.

Twelve years ago Cancer Care Nova Scotia (CCNS) believed there was a gap in how the cancer system responded to the needs of diverse communities. Beginning with the African Nova Scotian (ANS) community, CCNS commissioned two ANS consultants to conduct a needs assessment.

Recommendations included: developing culturally-specific patient education materials; enhancing cultural competency of health professionals; and recruiting health professionals from ANS communities.

With this increased knowledge, CCNS worked with health professionals and administrators throughout the province to address these recommendations. In 2012, CCNS conducted a series of focus groups in five ANS communities (Yarmouth, Tracadie, Whitney Pier, North and East Preston and metro Halifax) to find out if the organization’s efforts had resulted in an improved experience for African Nova Scotians.

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