Despite a similar overall incidence of cancers, Indigenous people have higher mortality rates than other Australians. The reasons for this may include a later cancer stage at diagnosis, reduced uptake of or access to treatment, greater comorbidities, and higher rates of more aggressive cancers. However, little is known about the relative importance of each of these.
Navigating one’s way through the health care system can be arduous and fraught with uncertainty and fear for any cancer patient. This common problem can be exacerbated for an Indigenous person. We are working towards improving Indigenous cancer patients' experiences through their cancer journey and cancer outcomes.
Our research focus:
- To improve the survival and quality of life of Indigenous people with cancer
- To compare the patterns of care and comorbidities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cancer patients and against clinical guidelines to identify factors that health services could modify
- To conduct a comprehensive study of the supportive care needs and quality of life of Indigenous cancer patients
- To test the effectiveness of an intervention combining ‘patient navigation’, cancer education and communication coaching.
Our research impact:
- Cancer Australia has partnered with Menzies to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework, which can inform the national cancer control agenda and ultimately contribute to improved health and well being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Our ‘Indigenous Patient Navigators’ (people who assist patients to overcome barriers to accessing care and support services) will help reduce cancer care disparities and improve cancer outcomes by providing advocacy and support for Indigenous cancer patients and their families
- In conjunction with Cancer Council Australia, we have produced a series of plain language cancer factsheets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These help to explain cancer, cancer treatments and medical terminology.
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework
- Strategic research partnership (STREP Ca-CindA)
- Centre for Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous strategies to improve cancer outcomes via engagement, research translation and training (DISCOVER-TT)
- Distinctive cancer care requirements of Indigenous cancer patients
- Effects of co-morbidities on cancer treatment and survival
- National Assessment of the unmet supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer patients
- Supportive care needs assessment tool – project implementation
- A comparative study of the patterns of care, comorbidities and quality of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with cancer
- Closing the divide: assessing and navigating the unmet supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer patients.
Click here to view more cancer publications in PubMed.
The information in the fact sheets has been adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by Menzies School of Health Research in consultation with a Clinical Advisory Group and an Indigenous Consultation group. Production by Cancer Council.
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