Funding to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease as the major cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Studies show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples receive less cancer treatment and poorer quality of treatment even after adjusting for patient factors.
With increasing remoteness, cancer survival rates decrease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Donnella Mills, the Chair of NACCHO, “welcomes the announcement by Minister Butler today of around $197m over the next few years to address the substantial gap. Avoidable mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is over three times that of other Australians and mortality gap between the two populations continues to widen. This demonstrates the work to improve prevention and care in Australia over the past two decades has had very little impact on our communities.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be diagnosed with many cancers, including liver, cervical and lung cancers.
Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of NACCHO comments, “NACCHO has been developing the case for this additional funding over the last couple of years including surveys across the sector, gathering data and case studies. The funding will provide programs to support cancer prevention, screening, early diagnosis, treatment and wrap around support for community members. Funds will also be used create culturally safe referral pathways for cancer diagnosis and treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
“We want to see cancer outcomes improve for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This funding is a crucial step. NACCHO will continue to work with Governments and stakeholders under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap to ensure we meet the needs of the ACCHO sector,” continues Pat Turner.
NACCHO recognises that palliative care, related to cancer and other health issues, remains unfunded in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) sector. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to die with dignity, on their Country. NACCHO will continue to advocate for palliative care funding in the ACCHO sector.