Strategies for Improving Access to Cancer Screening Services for Indigenous Women in Canada: A Scoping Review
High cancer rates among Indigenous women are associated with barriers to accessing cancer screening programs. The purpose of this scoping review is to uncover the social, political, and economic barriers that negatively impact Indigenous women’s access to cancer screening services. Peer-reviewed literature was screened, yielding 21 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The studies found that many structural barriers affecting Indigenous women are primarily rooted in pre-existing sociohistorical conditions established through colonization and forced cultural assimilation. Barriers include mistrust in the healthcare system, limited access to healthcare services and information, and other healthcare inequities. Health literacy and cultural competency were identified as having the largest impact on addressing health disparities related to cancer screening uptake. Moving forward, health systems must build upon the existing strengths of Indigenous communities to improve health literacy and incorporate cultural competence into care delivery.