National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) » Yarning board

Tackling Cancer in Indigenous Australians

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  • 17 September

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  • 13 October 2014

    Cervical cancer warning 

    Indigenous women in Sunraysia, Victoria are being urged to have regular pap smears to reduce potential death by cervical cancer.

    Doctors at Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) say the number of women being tested has improved since the opening of a women’s clinic in January, but it could be better. MDAS estimates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are four times more likely to die of cervical cancer than non-Indigenous women, but the rate of pap smear screening in the Indigenous community is low.

    PapScreen Victoria recommends women have a pap smear every two years to prevent cervical cancer. It estimates 60% of eligible non-Aboriginal women had a pap test during 2010 to 2011, but only 32% of Aboriginal women were tested.

    'We know that regular screening can prevent around 90% of cervical cancer cases,' said MDAS practice nurse Yasmin Birnie.

    Source: Sunraysia Daily

  • 7 October 2014

    A simple test could save your life

    Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. If you’re 50 or older, a simple, at-home bowel screening test every 2 years could save your life. Luckily, 9 out of 10 cases can be cured if detected early.

    This life-saving test is mailed to all Victorians when they turn 50, 55, 60 and 65 as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. But only 3 in 10 eligible Victorians are completing the test.

    If more people participated in the free screening program, more cases of bowel cancer could be found at an earlier stage when they are easiest to treat. 

    Cancer Council recommends screening every two years, so if you fall outside the target group, you can purchase a Bowel Cancer Test kit from your local pharmacy or order a kit online from the Cancer Council.

    Have a yarn to your GP or purchase a kit online today - it could save your life.

  • 7 July 2014

    Leukaemia survivor Kylie Clarke, a 33 year old part Indigenous women, sparks awareness of the need for an Indigenous bone marrow register to support others like herself, who are of an unusual ethnic background. Read full story here.

  • 14 January 2014

    The past 30 years has seen improvements in cancer treatments resulting in better cancer survival in the wider community. However, these same benefits have not been seen for Indigenous Australians who continue to experience much poorer outcomes after diagnosis with cancer.

    Researchers want to see cancer treatments that are generally available used by Indigenous people. This requires health systems meeting the needs Indigenous people so that they too can get the best out of the latest cancer-treatment options.

    A National Health and Medical Research Council grant of  $2.5m over five years to a national group including researchers at The University of Western Australia's (UWA) School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care ($326,000) will help researchers improve cancer services to Indigenous people around Australia, including those in remote communities.

    To read the full story click here