Helping Indigenous patients to access cancer services
Statistics show Indigenous Australians are three and a half times more likely to die from cervical cancer, three times more likely to die from liver cancer and almost twice as likely to die from lung cancer than non-Indigenous Australians.
Studies in the Northern Territory and Queensland have found that Indigenous cancer patients are less likely to be recommended for, choose and complete curative treatment than non-Indigenous patients.
Associate Professors Gail Garvey and Patricia Valery from the Menzies School of Health Research report that there's no Aboriginal word for cancer and that cancer is often associated with death, so there is a lack of open discussion and general awareness of cancer in many Indigenous communities.
Indigenous Australians have unique needs with respect to radiation oncology that can include: different patterns of cancer incidence compared with non-Indigenous Australians, later diagnosis and lower survival, continued disadvantage in accessing treatments, cultural considerations and limited data and research on Indigenous cancer care.
In this video, you will meet Leonie McIntosh - proud Wiradjuri woman, mother, wife, artist and academic B.Ed (Hon), PhD - to hear about her brain cancer and treatment journey as an Aboriginal woman at the new GenesisCare Radiation Oncology Centre. The centre is located in the purpose-built Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and allows patients in the North East to have radiation therapy closer to home.
Leonie's story demonstrates the importance of reducing barriers to Indigenous patients accessing high quality specialist care.