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Yarning for better cancer outcomes in Indigenous Women

Today, on Close the Gap Day, Cancer Australia is releasing a Community Education Resource to support the delivery of 'Women's Business' workshops to improve gynaecological and breast cancer outcomes for Indigenous women.

While Australians experience some of the best cancer survival rates in the world, Indigenous Australians continue to experience significantly poorer outcomes.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Indigenous women are also almost 70% more likely to be diagnosed with gynaecological cancers than non-Indigenous Women.

Cancer Australia CEO, Professor Helen Zorbas explained, "Indigenous women are less likely to participate in screening programs and are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer that has progressed to an advanced stage compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

It is important that we work with the Indigenous community to address this disparity in outcomes through improved knowledge and raised awareness of cancer.
"It is our hope that by taking this knowledge directly to Indigenous communities we can improve cancer outcomes for Indigenous Australians.”

The ‘Women’s Business’ workshops use yarning, or face-to-face storytelling, to increase understanding of the risk factors and symptoms of breast and gynaecological cancers and promote the importance of breast screening, cervical screening and HPV vaccinations.

The workshops also aim to break down barriers and misconceptions like shame and guilt about breast and gynaecological cancers, encouraging women to actively take part in the prevention and detection of cancer.
Participants will leave the workshop with the positive message that they can make lifestyle changes to reduce their cancer risk; no one knows their body like they do; they can find cancer early and survive; and it’s important that they share what they have learnt with their family and friends.

Up to thirty Women’s Business workshops will be delivered across all states and territories in Australia in partnership with a peak community controlled health organisation the Aboriginal Health Council South Australia.

Health professionals who wish to run their own workshops can order printed copies or download the Women’s Business Community Education Resource from Cancer Australia’s website. The resource includes presenter resources to organise and facilitate the workshop and health education materials for attendees. Visit:

Close the Gap Day is a national initiative by Oxfam Australia to bring people together and share information that creates meaningful action to achieve Indigenous health equality in Australia by 2030.

For all media enquiries, please contact: Cancer Australia’s Media Team on 0438 209 833 or email