Platform launched for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer

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Australia’s first comprehensive cancer website developed by and for Indigenous Australians has been officially launched.

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy launched the website which provides culturally-safe support and information for patients, their families, communities and health professionals.

The aim is to boost health outcomes and care across the country.

The website includes information about how cancer affects Indigenous Australians, ways to protect against cancer, types of cancer, diagnosis, treatment and living with cancer, how cancer spreads and where to get help and support.

In 2015-2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 1.4 times more likely to die from cancer compared to non-Indigenous Australians and they experience higher incidence rates, and lower participation rates in bowel, breast, and cervical cancer population screening programs.

The website also includes information about culturally sensitive topics around Sorry Business, Men’s and Women’s Business and Shame, and how these relate to cancer and associated health outcomes.

A section of the website provides guidance for health professionals on providing culturally appropriate optimal cancer care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients and the importance of this in supporting the best cancer outcomes possible.

“Cancer places a heavy burden not only on those diagnosed with the disease but also their families, carers, Elders and the community,” said the assistant minister for indigenous health, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy.

“By using a strength-based, culturally-focussed approach that reflects our resilience and values, the Our Mob and Cancer platform hopes to engage more effectively with community and answer the needs of Indigenous Australians with cancer and their families.”

“More culturally appropriate and safe information about prevention, early detection, screening, treatment and support can directly translate into better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“To guide and design the project from inception, Cancer Australia has incorporated the voices and experiences of Indigenous Australians affected by cancer, the Community, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Expert Reference Group, and Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control," added Professor Dorothy Keefe, the CEO Cancer Australia.