The 4th February is World Cancer Day, a day that is of considerable relevance to many imprisoned across the world. As we highlighted in November for World Diabetes Day, there is increasing recognition that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are an important public health issue globally with 80% of deaths from NCDs in low and middle income countries, often affecting the poorest. People in prison are at increased risk of cancer and there is growing evidence to show that that cancer incidence and prevalence rates are higher in people in prison than in people of a similar age in the community.


There’s still a great deal we don’t know about how cancer affects people in prison and to mark World Cancer Day, Dr Fiona Kouyoumdjian speaks about her ground-breaking work with people in prison.



Fiona Kouyoumdjian, MD MPH PhD, is a Family Physician, Public Health and Preventive Medicine Physician, and Epidemiologist. Fiona does research on the health and health care of people in prison as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She has worked since 2007 as a Family Physician at a provincial correctional facility.


Colorectal and Breast Cancer Screening Status For People in Ontario Provincial Correctional Facilities

McConnon, Andreas et al. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Volume 0, Issue 0


Stage at presentation for incarcerated patients at a single urban tertiary care centre
Kathryn S. Ivy, Kevin N. Griffith, Amy K. Rosen, Stephanie D. Talutis, David B. McAneny, Matthew H. Kulke, Jennifer F. Tseng, and Teviah E. Sachs, Journal of Clinical Oncology 2018 36:15_suppl, e18649 - e18649    


Concerns about Lung Cancer Among Prisoners

Renault, L., Perrot, E., Pradat, E. et al. Lung (2018) 196: 115.


Cervical Cancer Screening Access for Women Who Experience Imprisonment in Ontario, Canada.

Kouyoumdjian FG, McConnon A, Herrington ERS, Fung K, Lofters A, Hwang SW.

JAMA Netw Open. 2018 Dec 7;1(8):e185637.



The health care utilization of people in prison and after prison release: A population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada.

Kouyoumdjian FG, Cheng SY, Fung K, Orkin AM, McIsaac KE, Kendall C, Kiefer L, Matheson FI, Green SE, Hwang SW.

PLoS One. 2018 Aug 3;13(8):e0201592.



Cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality in people who experience incarceration in Ontario, Canada: A population-based retrospective cohort study.

Kouyoumdjian FG, Pivnick L, McIsaac KE, Wilton AS, Lofters A, Hwang SW.

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 22;12(2):e0171131



Mortality over 12 years of follow-up in people admitted to provincial custody in Ontario: a retrospective cohort study.

Kouyoumdjian FG, Kiefer L, Wobeser W, Gonzalez A, Hwang SW.

CMAJ Open. 2016 Apr 27;4(2):E153-61



If you have any further resources or articles in this area to add to the collection, please send them through to 


Archive of themed collections:

Mental Health: October 2017

Children and prisons: November 2017

HIV and prisons: December 2017

Women and prison: February 2018

TB and prisons: March 2018

Immunizations and prisons: April 2018

World No Tobacco Day and prisons: May 2018

World Drug Day and prisons: June 2018

World Hepatitis Day and prisons: July 2018

International Youth Day: August 2018

World Suicide Prevention Day: September 2018

International Day of Older Persons: October 2018

> World Diabetes Day: November 2018

> World AIDS Day: December 2018 

> World Cancer Day: February 2019


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