Cancer is a leading cause of death among Inuit populations. Compared to the general population of Canada, Inuit have a higher incidence of lung, liver, oesophageal, nasopharyngeal, and salivary cancer. Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is developing culturally appropriate cancer awareness tools and a toolkit to support community health representatives (CHRs), health care providers and Inuit cancer patients.

Phase 1: Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary

From 2012 – 2014, Pauktuutit received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to hold focus groups to engage Inuit communities and reach out to CHRs and health care providers working with Inuit cancer patients. The project included the Inuit Cancer Literacy Forum held in Inuvik, NT, in July 2013. This forum brought together Inuit medical translators, cancer content experts, community health and social service providers, land claims organization representatives, educators, elders and youth to address the lack of cancer terminology and the unique differences of dialects in Inuit regions. Through this forum the Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary was developed.

The Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary was Pauktuutit’s first cancer resource for Inuit. It is intended to provide Inuit patients and caregivers, as well as health care professionals with plain language information in English about cancer in English and five dialects of Inuktitut.

The Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary inspired a strategic partnership that brought together organizations with complementary experience and expertise through recognizing that a lack of commonly understood and used Inuktitut vocabulary was a barrier to communicating effectively about cancer.

As part of Phase I Pauktuutit also created the cancer journey video series available on YouTube, discussing the Inuit cancer journey from the perspective of survivors, educators and health care workers it is a glimpse into the reality of many Inuit traveling to urban centres for medical treatment.

Phase II: Inuit Cancer Project

The goal of Pauktuutit’s Inuit Cancer Project is to increase Inuit knowledge about cancer in general and specifically about cancer risk factors, cancer screening and early detection.

Pauktuutit is now working in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Society and the project advisory committee through funding provided by Jaguar Land Rover Canada. The goal of this project is to further facilitate the dissemination of the Kaggutiq Inuit Cancer Glossary and develop other crucial Inuit specific health literacy resources in order to increase awareness and understanding of cancer among Inuit communities and ultimately improve health outcomes.

Pauktuutit’s Inuit Cancer Project will develop region-specific awareness tools that explain cancers, identify cancer risk factors, describe screening procedures and describe the types of treatment and care associated with different cancers. Additionally, information and resources will be developed to support Inuit patients and the work of Inuit and non-Inuit health care providers.

The long-term objective is to build health literacy among Inuit populations, increase screening rates, encourage lifestyle changes to reduce cancer incidence and develop platforms for support at every stage of the cancer journey. Approximately 60,000 people living in 53 communities in four regions – Inuvialuit (NWT), Nunavut, Nunavik (northern Quebec) and Nunatsiavut (Labrador) – will benefit from this project.


This project is a collaboration between Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society generously supported by Jaguar Land Rover Canada.

Jaguar Land Rover Canada is the sole corporate supporter of the Inuit Cancer Project. Jaguar Land Rover supports the project through their Global Corporate Social Responsibility Program, which aims to improve lives and advance knowledge by supporting projects that enhance health, well being and the environment.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community–based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. The Society provides expertise in interpreting research, developing recommendations and framing advice in plain language.


Pauktuutit is the national non-profit organization representing all Inuit women in Canada. Its mandate is to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, and to encourage their participation in community, regional and national concerns in relation to social, cultural and economic development.


Project Advisory Committee

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national Inuit organization in Canada, representing the four Inuit regions of Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) ensures that the obligations of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) are carried out at the territorial level. NTI works with the three regional Inuit organizations, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association and Qikiqtani Inuit Association, that each focus on providing social, cultural and economic benefits to their respective regions.
Government of Nunavut Department of Health is responsible for health services and social programming in Nunavut.
Nunatsiavut Government Department of Health and Social Development is responsible for health services and social programming for Nunatsiavut beneficiaries.
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services is responsible for health services and social programming for the 14 communities in Nunavik.
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) IRC works to continually improve the economic, social and cultural well-being of the Inuvialuit Settlement region. IRC works closely with the Beaufort Delta Health Authority to work with individuals, families and communities to support health and well-being.
Sophie Keelan is a breast cancer survivor. She is originally from Nunatsiavut but now resides in Nunavik. Sophie worked for many years as a medical translator.
Annie Buchan is from the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut and lives in Cambridge Bay. Annie recently retired from the Government of Nunavut Department of Health where she had worked as a community health representative for over 20 years. She is also a long-serving former member of the Pauktuutit Board of Directors.
Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is Canada’s leading survivor-directed national network of organizations and individuals concerned about breast cancer.
Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an organization funded by the federal government to work with cancer experts, charitable organizations, governments, cancer agencies, national health organizations, patients, survivors and others to implement Canada’s cancer control strategy.