Results published in Lancet Oncology

Nov. 12, 2014

Sangita Sharma, PhD
Sangita Sharma, PhD

Sangita Sharma, PhD, has just been published in the journal Lancet Oncology, looking at opportunities to improve cancer screening for Aboriginal communities.

Dr. Sharma, along with Fariba Kolahdooz, PhD, looked at all published literature on Aboriginal communities in the Northwest Territories, and around the world, to better understand existing barriers and to explore ways to make cancer screening more accessible to Aboriginal communities. Cancer screening and an early diagnosis are important for anyone hoping to overcome cancer. A delayed diagnosis – or cancer that is advanced at the time of diagnosis – often leads to poor clinical outcomes. Because some First Nation communities are remote, timely treatment may be difficult to access. At a time when a patient requires support from friends and family, cancer treatment can mean separation from community support, and time spent traveling to and from treatment centres. In addition, Aboriginal cultures possess beliefs around cancer, which may differ from western medicine. This publication will be the foundation for future work, looking at ways to increase cancer screening participation among all Aboriginal groups.

The publication, titled Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours toward cancer screening in indigenous populations: a systematic review appeared in the October 2014 edition of Lancet Oncology.

Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) President and CEO, Dr. Cy Frank, says, “Thanks to the  Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund research like Dr. Sharma’s helps define a problem and opens the door to innovations that can improve cancer screening, treatment and prevention approaches in Aboriginal communities in our province.”



Sangita Sharma, PhD, is supported through an AIHS CRIO Project – Cancer program. She is the Centennial Professor in Aboriginal and Global Health as well as the Endowed Chair in Aboriginal Health within the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

Fariba Kolahdooz, PhD is a Senior Research Associate in the Aboriginal and Global Health Research Group, in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

The Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunity (CRIO) Project – Cancer award supports small groups of collaborators (at least three), undertaking research and innovation activities, in areas across the cancer continuum, from causes and prevention to treatment and care. The focus of this opportunity is on achieving cancer-related outcomes using a collaborative approach to the production of new knowledge, coupled with the translation of cancer research findings to knowledge- or end-users for impact on the health of Albertans and/or the health system.

The CRIO Project Cancer award is supported by the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund (ACPLF).  The ACPLF provides support through strategic investments in research capacity building, infrastructure support, focused and collaborative research, and knowledge translation and exchange. Investment is provided through numerous AIHS programs, such as the CRIO Project – Cancer program and various trainee programs. Other strategic initiatives and activities are also supported to help encourage collaboration and, where appropriate, a coordinated provincial approach to cancer research and innovation.

Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions supports research and innovation activities to improve the health and wellbeing of Albertans and creates value through innovation for health related social and economic benefits for Albertans. AIHS provides leadership for Alberta’s health research and innovation enterprise by enabling, coordinating, reviewing, funding and supporting research and innovation. For more information see:


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