CanNET will improve access to quality, clinically-effective cancer services throughout Australia, particularly for specific population groups that currently may have poorer cancer outcomes. These groups include: people living in rural, regional and remote areas; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and people diagnosed with cancers known to result in poor health outcomes.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience great disparity throughout the cancer journey. The reported incidence of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is lower or similar to the general population. However, they are less likely to access early detection programs and medical interventions, resulting in higher morbidity and mortality rates (McGrath & Holewa, 2006; Valery, Coory, Stirling, & Green, 2006). It is important that the disparity in cancer morbidity and mortality experienced by Aboriginal people be addressed by identifying effective and culturally appropriate cancer control measures.
Cancer Australia is involved in several projects that are specifically aimed at improving access to cancer services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Several of the ongoing CanNETs are undertaking specific projects aimed at improving access to cancer services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control Research Report
In early 2010, Cancer Australia commissioned Cancer Council South Australia (CCSA) to perform a comprehensive review of research and initiatives aimed at improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer control. As a result of the review, CCSA has recommended four priority areas for improvements:
- Data Infrastructure – improve data sets and data linkage.
- Prevention – reducing high risk behaviours.
- Programs – measures that improve access/participation, completion of treatment and quality of life that considers cultural and psychosocial factors which impact on decision making and participation in cancer control activities.
- Service Delivery – determine best approaches to facilitate and sustain Aboriginal ownership and involvement in all aspects of service delivery.
An overarching recommendation of this research was the need to have a national evaluation strategy to assess the impact of cancer control programs on Aboriginal health. Cancer Australia is currently investigating ways to address these priority areas.