Programs and Initiatives

The NWT Cancer Strategy

The NWT’s first territorial cancer strategy was released in the winter of 2015. This strategy, Charting Our Course: Northwest Territories Cancer Strategy 2015-2025, will guide the health and social services system and our partners toward the achievement of five goals:

  1. Support NWT residents to lead healthy lifestyles that reduce their risk of cancer;
  2. Improve cancer screening rates among eligible NWT residents;
  3. Improve patient transitions between each stage of the cancer journey;
  4. Support health professionals to communicate within the circle of cancer care; and
  5. Improve the quality of life of cancer patients, their families and caregivers, and cancer survivors.

These goals emerged from extensive consultation with partners and stakeholders and describe our most urgent needs.  Charting Our Course will not resolve all of our challenges, but will help us to make significant progress and lay a foundation for continued improvements. The successful implementation of this strategy will lead to the best health and best care of all NWT residents in all communities, charting our course for a better future.

Cancer Sharing Circles

“I know every family has been affected by cancer. If we can get together and start talking, that’s what our community really needs.”
                                                                   (Cancer sharing circle participant)

Cancer sharing circles facilitate open discussion about cancer in a safe environment. The objectives of cancer sharing circles are: to give community members the opportunity to voice their concerns and share their stories about cancer; to enhance community knowledge and awareness of cancer and how it impacts community members; and to motivate community members to initiate their own activities to address barriers and gaps they face in cancer care and support.

Department of Health and Social Services support may be available for a cancer sharing circle in your region. If you would like to learn more, please contact us.

Sharing Circle Reports

Are you interested in holding a cancer sharing circle in your community? The Department of Health and Social Services may be able to help. Please see our Community Action Toolkit for resources, including a cancer sharing circle proposal template that you may use to seek funding. 

What do these initiatives mean for NWT communities?

  • Active collaboration with the DHSS
  • Enhanced visibility of local cancer champions
  • Dispelled myths and reduced stigma with regard to cancer
  • Other forms of healing (traditional medicine) are valued
  • Enhanced understanding of the needs/perspectives of all cancer patients
  • Support for community-based initiatives to improve the continuity of cancer care
  • Opportunity to provide feedback and guidance on current challenges and potential solutions for cancer care in the NWT
  • Increased education, awareness, and promotion of cancer screening and cancer prevention
  • Greater availability of culturally appropriate written and visual information

Our key partners

  • Regional health and social services authorities
  • Indigenous governments, band and Métis councils, community corporations, and municipal governments
  • Alberta Health Services, including CancerControl Alberta and Northern Health Services Network
  • Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Chapter
  • NWT Breast Health/Breast Cancer Action Group
  • Other GNWT departments within the Healthy Choices Framework