Modifiable Risk Factors for Cancer in the Métis Peoples of Ontario
- Métis people in Ontario have higher prevalence of certain cancer risk factors, including higher cigarette smoking, obesity and exceeding cancer prevention guidelines for drinking alcohol (males).
- Studying information about the prevalence of cancer risk factors may be the best way to determine where to direct cancer prevention resources most effectively to reduce the future burden of cancer and other chronic diseases.
See Modifiable Risk Factors in Métis Methodology for technical information.
- Cigarette smoking is associated with some cancers, including lung and colorectal cancers.
- Métis teens and adults had a higher prevalence of cigarette smoking (16% and 36%, respectively) compared with non-Aboriginal teens and adults (7.2% and 21%, respectively).
- Smoking rates among Métis adults decreased from 44% in 2007 to 32% in 2014.
- Increased body fatness is associated with many cancers, including the 2 most commonly diagnosed cancers in Ontario: colorectal and breast (post-menopausal).
- The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher in Métis adults (25%) compared with non-Aboriginal adults (18%). Métis teens also had a high prevalence of obesity but it was not significantly higher than non-Aboriginal teens.
- Drinking alcohol increases risk for many cancers, including colorectal and breast cancers.
- Métis men were significantly more likely than non-Aboriginal men (15% and 10%, respectively) to exceed the cancer prevention guideline of no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day. A similar proportion of Métis and non-Aboriginal women exceeded the cancer prevention guideline.
Vegetables and fruit consumption
- Consuming a diet high in vegetables, fruit and dietary fibre lowers the risk of several cancers, including colorectal cancer. Conversely, a diet high in red meats and processed foods increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
- A similar proportion of Métis and non-Aboriginal people consume fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Regular physical activity has been associated with reduced risk of some cancers, including colorectal cancer.
- Similar proportions of Métis and non-Aboriginal adults are physically inactive.
- Very little is known about cancer rates among the Métis people of Ontario. Studying information about the prevalence of cancer risk factors may be the best way to determine where to direct cancer prevention resources most effectively to reduce the future burden of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- With their current high rates of cigarette smoking, Métis populations are expected to experience a substantial future burden of tobacco-related chronic disease. Strategies, policies and programs to reduce smoking should therefore be a priority. Smoking cessation interventions should consider the historical role that tobacco has played in the Métis way of life over many hundreds of years.
- The Indigenous Tobacco Program at Cancer Care Ontario aims to reduce non-traditional tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. The program develops and delivers culturally appropriate awareness and education initiatives. These activities communities build capacity to prevent commercial tobacco use, help people quit and protect people from second-hand exposure.
- Geography is an important issue for the many Métis people living in smaller urban centres or rural environments in Ontario, where there are challenges in getting prevention and treatment support. Improving access to resources and services is critical to system-level interventions designed to reduce cancer risk and improve Métis health outcomes.
- Métis Nation of Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario have produced Cancer in the Métis People in Ontario: Risk Factors and Screening Behaviours. The report provides essential evidence that Métis communities can use to support cancer prevention and screening.
- CCO’s Path to Prevention: Recommendations for Addressing Chronic Disease in First Nation, Inuit and Métis, outlines evidence-based policy recommendations to guide decision-making about chronic disease prevention policy for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The report focuses on the 4 major risk or protective factors for chronic disease: commercial tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity and healthy eating. While the recommendations are aimed at the Government of Ontario, their implementation will involve full participation by First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, as well as collaboration with a range of organizations.