• To improve access to, and uptake of treatment for Indigenous cancer patients.
  • To determine the distinctive features of Indigenous cancer patients (e.g. social, cultural, spiritual, language) related to their preferences for cancer treatment and support
  • To discover what enabling mechanisms can be used (by Indigenous patients, communities and treatment services) to overcome these barriers
  • To find out how cancer services can change to better meet the needs of Indigenous people
  • To discover how service providers understand the needs of Indigenous patients with cancer and what training and support they see as useful.

Indigenous cancer patients report multiple substantial barriers to accessing and completing cancer treatment, including competing personal and family pressures, remoteness and lack of transportation, inadequate communication, cultural alienation, inadequate support and a hostile clinical environment. The barriers, and enabling mechanisms to overcome them, may vary for different Indigenous communities (e.g. between urban and remote areas).

Implications for policy and practice:

The results will inform the delivery of services that are person-centred rather than service-centred, resulting in improved access and uptake of treatment.

Our research has found: 

This project is still in progress.

Chief investigators:
Project manager:
  • Professor Sandra Thompson, Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health, University of Western Australia
Contact information:
Project dates:

2013 - 2014.

  • University of Western Australia
  • Townsville Hospital
  • James Cook University
  • Aboriginal Health Council South Australia
  • Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
  • Alan Walker Cancer Centre.
Key staff: 

Chief and associate investigators:

Post-doctoral fellows, students, staff:

  • Michele Holloway
  • Leanne Pilkington