Why improving Indigenous Cancer Care is the key to closing the gap

Updated 31 Jan 2017.


In the lead up to the election on March 11, we’re calling on the next state government to commit $300k per annum of dedicated funding for 4 years to enable and deliver dedicated services for WA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Here’s why:

  • The cancer death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is 30% higher than other Australians. In remote areas these rates are even higher. We need to close this gap.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
  • Indigenous Australians are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage than non-Indigenous Australians, often meaning treatment options are limited or more complex.

How will government funding help?

Funding for a culturally-competent workforce will enable quality culturally-appropriate cancer care, particularly in rural and remote areas. This is a fundamental step in improving outcomes for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples affected by cancer.


Why are we focusing on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework and funding for Cancer Nurse Coordinators?

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework 2015

Integrating and implementing the recommendations from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework 2015 into the next state cancer plan will play a significant role in meeting the needs of Aboriginal cancer patients and their families.

This includes introducing dedicated Cancer Nurse Coordinators so that Aboriginal people have access to culturally appropriate support and guidance in decision making and treatment access.


Funding 2 Cancer Nurse Coordinators dedicated to Aboriginal cancer care

When treatment is complex or there are multiple factors to manage before treatment can begin, such as being away from home, caring for children or loss of income, we know that quality care coordination can help to ensure fewer Aboriginal cancer patients get lost to the system or face unnecessary delays in treatment.

Integrated systems that deliver quality services will improve outcomes for Indigenous people affected by cancer and ultimately lead us to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer survival.


Want to know more about what we’re doing to help reduce Aboriginal cancer deaths? Read about our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) here.



Join us in petitioning our politicians in the lead up to the March state election to take meaningful action and make cancer a priority. Whether by restricting the availability of tobacco, installing UV meters in our schools, or increasing funding for vital research, our state representatives have the power to make changes that will have a significant impact towards achieving better health outcomes for our community.

By combining our voices, united against cancer, we can make a real difference - and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Find out more about our election priorities here.

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Found in:  News - 2017  | View all news