Cancer Australia is hosting a National Cancer Forum bringing together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals from across Australia to address the significant disparities in Indigenous cancer outcomes.
“Overall, Indigenous Australians have a higher rate of cancer diagnosis and are 50 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians.” Cancer Australia CEO, Professor Helen Zorbas said.
“Compared with non-Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have a higher prevalence of cancer risk factors, are less likely to participate in screening programs, have more advanced cancer at diagnosis and are less likely to complete treatment.”
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals are critical in addressing these issues through promoting positive lifestyle behaviours and cancer awareness, encouraging early detection, and continuation of treatment.”
The two-day forum will focus on breast and lung cancer, the two most commonly diagnosed cancers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Indigenous Australians are almost twice as likely to develop, and twice as likely to die from lung cancer compared with non-Indigenous Australians, while Indigenous women are 30 per cent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Indigenous women.” Professor Zorbas said.
The forum aims to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of cancer within the Indigenous population and provide health professionals with information, tools and resources to support best practice cancer care in their communities.
Participants will hear from a range of highly regarded experts and will have the opportunity to identify and share strategies for improving cancer outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“The overwhelming response from participants demonstrates the need for such a forum and shows significant commitment by Indigenous health professionals to improving cancer outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.” Professor Zorbas said.
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