Aboriginal programs

Indigenous women  
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience significantly poorer health than the wider Australian population. It's estimated that the current gap in overall life expectancy is 12 years less for men and 10 years less for women.

Such a great disparity can't simply be attributed to 'lifestyle' factors nor is it indicative solely of a predisposition to chronic illnesses. The factors contributing to ill health among our Indigenous population are incredibly complex and varied, many of which impact on one another – often simultaneously. 

Cancer is the third leading cause of death for Australian Aborginal and Torres Strait Islanders and, based on data for 1999–2003, mortality rates are estimated at 1.5 times more than for non-Aboriginal Australians.

To effectively address such high rates of cancer within Aborginal communities, education around risk factors and available screening programs is integral.

We work closely with Aboriginal organisations, health workers, government and businesses to target cancer prevention messages to Victorian Aboriginal communities.

Activities include:

  • Education programs to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Research to reduce the burden of cancer on future generations.
  • Information and support for cancer patients, their families, carers, and health professionals.
  • Creating culturally appropriate resources through community consultation and using local artists.
  • An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Art category in the annual Arts Awards that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a chance to share their cancer stories through art.

Reducing the prevalence, impact and morbidity related to cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority for Cancer Council Victoria and to assist us in this work we have partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO). In September 2011 a Memorandum of Understanding was developed between VACCHO and Cancer Council Victoria which underpins our work together to achieve this common goal.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brochures and posters

We've created a series of brochures and posters targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women:

PDF icon Bowel: It's time to have a yarn about bowel cancer brochure (1.17Mb)
PDF icon Bowel: It's time to have a yarn about bowel cancer poster (369Kb)
PDF icon Breast: Take the lead – Be breast aware brochure (1,86Mb)
PDF icon Cervix: Pap tests – Help protect yourself from cervical cancer brochure (442Kb)
PDF icon Cervix: Pap tests – What if my Pap test is abnormal? brochure (597Kb)
PDF icon Cervix: Protecting our mob from cervical cancer brochure (270Kb)
PDF icon Prostate: Men's business – Prostate problems brochure (764Kb)
PDF icon Prostate: Hey Bruz, having trouble with your waterworks? poster (1.9Mb)

Web resources

These websites provide information relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

PapScreen Victoria

Quit Victoria

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2006

ABS: Health & wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women: A snapshot, 2004–05

Centre for Excellence in Tobacco Control

ATSI Health Service Directory

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit


Blog update
2014-04-03
Mammogram still best option for breast checks
When you undergo a test or treatment that aims to improve your health, how do you know it will work?
Updated: 03 Apr, 2014