Saturday, Oct. 21
10:45 – 11:45 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Junior Ballroom C (3rd floor – North Tower)
Jenna Nensi*, MD (2025); Oyedeji Ayonrinde, MD, MBA; Sara Mohamed, BS
- Health Advocate
At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Identify specific challenges or limitations to equitable cancer care for people with severe mental illness; 2) Recognize ethical challenges associated with the elimination of barriers; and 3) Critically review psychiatric aspects of oncology guidelines for common cancers.
Cancer is one of Canada’s most common noncommunicable diseases. Cancer screening, treatment, and monitoring can be challenging for people with severe mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This is demonstrated as people with SMI experience a substantial disparity in cancer mortality compared to those without SMI. (Kisely et al, 2013) Our study aims to close this gap by identifying specific SMI and equity diversity inclusion (EDI) barriers that affect screening, early diagnosis, and treatment of common cancers, including lung, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. Provincial guidelines for common cancers were reviewed by an intersectoral team, including psychiatrists and professionals with lived expertise, to gain insight into the real-life barriers, health inequities, and challenges that may contribute to disparate health outcomes among people with SMI. Specific barriers were identified, highlighting the limitations of cancer care guidelines and practices that potentially impact cancer morbidity and mortality among this population. In this workshop, participants will work through vignettes of patients with an SMI and participate in discussions about the potential barriers these patients may face during cancer screening, treatment, and follow up. Participants will also be faced with ethical considerations regarding the cancer care of people with SMI, such as obtaining informed consent. It is anticipated that participants will gain insight into the real-life barriers, health inequities, and challenges that may contribute to disparate health outcomes among people with SMI.
- Ni L, Wu J, Long Y, et al. Mortality of site-specific cancer in patients with schizophrenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry 2019;19(1):1–10.
- Kisely S, Crowe E, Lawrence D. Cancer-related mortality in people with mental illness. JAMA Psychiatry 2013;70(2):209–217.