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Optimal Cancer Care for First Nations Australians

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An Australian-first Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer, released in August by Cancer Australia, charts new approaches to cancer care for First Nations people, to boost their cancer treatment experience and results.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said this Optimal Care Pathway aims to tackle the growing gap in cancer outcomes between First Nations people and other Australians, by supporting the delivery of tailored, culturally safe and competent care.

“First Nations people are more likely to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage and are, on average, 40 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death and one of the biggest challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not just for those diagnosed, but also for families, carers, Elders, and communities.”

Minister Wyatt said that for services to be effective in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, they must operate with a fundamental understanding of, and respect for, First Nations culture.

“The new pathway provides health services and health professionals across Australia with principles and guidance to ensure that cancer care is culturally safe and responsive,” the Minister said.

“Being aware of how a person’s culture, values, and motivations can influence their decisions and preferences relating to the delivery of their care is an essential component in creating a culturally competent workforce. It is critical to better outcomes.”

The Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer – endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council – is accompanied by information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have or do have cancer, as well as for their carers, families, and communities.


Pic: Inidigenous Health Minister Keny Wyatt