Everyone deserves the right to a healthy future; particularly in a rich country like ours.
Yet, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10–17 years less than other Australians. As the second leading cause of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the prevalence of cancer is a significant contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians:
- Chronic diseases such as cancer account for three quarters of the gap in mortality rates between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and around 70% of deaths experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Cancer rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is rising and the gap is increasing.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
In 2007, the Close the Gap campaign was launched with the aim to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by 2030. In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Brendan Nelson signed the Close the Gap Statement of Intent, committing future federal governments to work towards six Closing the Gap targets, including to close the life expectancy gap within a generation (2031).
Based on data since 2006, the 2017 Close the Gap Prime Minister's Report stated that we are not on track to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031.
More needs to be done.
What you can do to help Close the Gap
Listen. Hear their stories. Share their stories.
Then demand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. Sign the pledge to be part of the generation who closes the gap.
Leadership Group established to help close “the cancer gap”
Today, Cancer Australia announced the recent establishment of its Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control to drive a shared agenda to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Leadership Group brings together experts, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds, across the fields of research, health and policy.
Our Aboriginal Project Officer, Louise De Busch is one of 10 members of the newly formed Leadership Group.
Louise works with Aboriginal health organisations and the Aboriginal community in WA on cancer related projects. She is also the interim Chair of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee which provides policy advice to Cancer Council Australia to guide its advocacy efforts to improve supportive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, their families and carers.
One of the Leadership Group’s first objectives will be the development of a reporting plan, informed by reliable data and evidence, to measure progress against the national cancer priorities outlined in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework.
The Framework identifies seven identified priority areas which, based on the evidence, will have the greatest impact in addressing the disparities and improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These are:
• improving knowledge and attitudes about cancer
• focusing prevention activities
• increasing participation in screening and immunisation
• ensuring early diagnosis
• delivering optimal and culturally appropriate treatment and care
• involving, informing and supporting families and carers
• strengthening the capacity of cancer-related services to meet the needs of Indigenous people.
For more information on the Close the Gap Day visit: https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-we-do/indigenous-australia/national-close-the-gap-day/
Want to know more about what we’re doing to help reduce Aboriginal cancer deaths? Read about our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) here.