The latest data from the Victorian Cancer Registry (housed at Cancer Council Victoria) shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples had higher incidence rates than non-Aboriginal Victorians for cancers of the lung, liver, head and neck and unknown primary, and cervix and bladder (women).
Mortality rates were more than twice those for Aboriginal than for non-Aboriginal Victorians, for both men and women.
The greater mortality rates experienced by Aboriginal Victorians reflect those cancers for which, incidence is higher, but may also be associated with diagnoses occurring at more advanced disease stage. This could reflect problems around timely access to treatment and lower participation in cancer screening programs.
At Cancer Council Victoria we want to reduce inequities. Our commitments towards this are set out in our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
In 2017, our progress towards reconciliation and closing the gap included implementing new cultural leave position guidelines, further cultural training and orientation for staff, and providing opportunities for staff to engage with Aboriginal culture during significant dates, such as NAIDOC Week. We also continued to work with other organisations, including the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to provide services.
We continue to work with Aboriginal communities to improve cancer outcomes. For example we delivered seven bowel cancer screening messages to 270 community members through comedy performances and awareness raising messages. To view more of our work visit www.cancervic.org.au/aboriginal-communities
Our annual staff survey about our RAP showed a high level of support (92%), while in the past year, 83% of participants had participated in at least one initiative related to the RAP or reconciliation.