Cancer Program

Reducing cancer death and disease among Alaska Native people

Cancer Program

The heartbreaking toll of cancer has seemingly touched all Alaskans. ANTHC’s dynamic and award-winning Cancer program collaborates with Alaska Tribal Health System partners to provide the best, most culturally appropriate education, training, support and resources to fight and prevent cancer. These tools improve cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care, as well as help Tribal partners improve their own cancer programs through planning, development and implementation.

Patient, Survivor and Family Support

  • Camp Coho is a camp for Alaska Native children ages 6-12 who have family members who are fighting cancer or have passed from the disease. Camp Coho provides a safe, supportive environment for grieving children to share feelings of losing a loved one to cancer or other chronic diseases and meet other children who have experienced similar losses.
  • The Men’s Retreat for Prostate and Testicular Cancer Survivors is an annual three-day camp for Alaska Native and non-Native prostate and testicular cancer survivors held in Cooper Landing. The camp is hosted by cancer experts who led the attendees in group discussions and offer further education. It is also an opportunity for attendees to bond, share their experiences and enjoy outdoor activities together.
  • Cancer Patient Comfort Bags are provided to newly diagnosed cancer patients who are receiving their care at ANMC. Each special bag lives up to its name, containing a fleece blanket, hot beverage mug, water bottle, various comfort/necessity items, and a cancer care binder containing information about cancer and treatment options, common problems, pain management, Traditional knowledge and resources. Funding for the bags is provided by ANTHC’s Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, which works in conjunction with ANTHC’s Cancer program and ANMC’s Oncology Clinic.

Training and Education

  • Nolan the Giant Colon is an engaging, award-winning colorectal cancer education tool that travels Alaska. It is also an inflatable, interactive walk-through colon display that is 25-feet long, 10-feet high and 12-feet wide! Nolan the Giant Colon is part of the ANTHC Cancer program’s work to normalize colorectal cancer and screening. Nolan is available for health fairs and events where a message of colorectal cancer screening can be shared. Contact for more information.
  • Behavioral Health Aide Training: “Working with Cancer Survivors and their Families” helps Behavioral Health Aides, Community Health Aides/Practitioners and other community health workers become familiar with topics related to cancer and issues that may arise for individuals and family members affected by cancer diagnosis and treatment. They also learn how to provide emotional support to cancer patients and their families from the time of cancer diagnosis through long-term survivorship. The course is available for six continuing education credits online via the Relias training portal.


  • The Traditional Food Guide for Alaska Native Cancer Survivors is a popular, easy-to-understand nutrition information book for Alaska Native people who have been diagnosed with cancer or other chronic disease. It is used by cancer programs across Alaska and America, and is carried in many bookstores.
  • The Traditional Food Guide Activity Book was developed for third and fourth grade children to better understand nutrition information and teach them about making healthy lifestyle choices. It is available to Alaska’s third and fourth grade teachers free of charge while supplies last. Other interested individuals and organizations may purchase copies.
  • Palliative Care: Easing the Journey with Care, Comfort and Choices – An Introduction to Palliative Care for Patients, Families, Communities, Caregivers & Healthcare Teams is a 32-page booklet that provides an explanation of palliative care and how it improves the quality of life for those diagnosed with a chronic disease.
  • Diagnosing and Treating Cancer is a 16-page booklet that provides newly diagnosed patients and their families with general information about cancer, how cancer is diagnosed and treatment options.
  • Life After Cancer Treatment is a 16-page booklet that provides information on the physical and emotional effects of cancer and adjusting to life after cancer treatment when a cancer survivor returns home, as well as quotes from Alaska Native cancer survivors.

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