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Optimal cancer care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people resource released

Wednesday 15 August, 2018

The new Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer has been released today, developed to improve cancer treatment experience and outcomes for First Nations people.

The Optimal Care Pathway provides health services and health professionals across all sectors in Australia with principles and guidance to ensure that care is culturally safe and responsive to the needs of Indigenous people. 

Accompanying consumer resources have also been developed, outlining what patients should expect and the care they should be offered throughout their cancer experience.

Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria CEO, said the resources, the first of their kind, are much needed to help tackle the gap in cancer outcomes between Indigenous people and other Australians.

“Cancer is the third leading cause of disease burden for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While Australia’s cancer survival rates are among the best in the world, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience significant disparities in cancer outcomes compared with non-Indigenous Australians.”

“In Victoria, incidence rates for Aboriginal people are more than one-third higher than for-non Aboriginal Victorians, and Aboriginal mortality rates are more than twice those of Victorians of other descent.

Mr Harper said the resources provide trusted information for patients, carers and loved ones to help make sense of what should happen throughout treatment and a cancer experience.

“The Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer is one of a suite of Optimal Care Pathways developed to help patients and their carers understand their cancer care and empower them to ask questions of their treatment team.

“A lot can happen in a hurry when you’re diagnosed with cancer. These resources can help community members make sense of what should happen and empower them through the decision making process,” Mr Harper said.

The Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer was developed collaboratively by Cancer Australia in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Cancer Council Victoria and is endorsed by Cancer Council Australia.

To find out more: www.cancervic.org.au/for-health-professionals/optimal-care-pathways

View the Victorian Cancer Registry’s Cancer in Victoria Statistics and Trends 2016 report here: www.cancervic.org.au/downloads/cec/cancer-in-vic/Cancer-in-Victoria_Statistics-and-Trends_2016.pdf