Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and cancer

John Condon, Gail Garvey, Lisa Whop, Patricia Valery, David Thomas, R Gruen, Joan Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


It is increasingly evident that inequalities exist for Indigenous people with cancer. Incidence for all cancers combined is similar to or lower than that of non-Indigenous people, but incidence of cancers with a poorer prognosis, such as lung cancer, is higher among Indigenous people, largely due to higher rates of smoking. Indigenous Australians with cancer are diagnosed with more advanced disease and are less likely to receive or complete curative treatment than non-Indigenous Australians. Wide disparities exist in cancer survival between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, particularly in the first year after diagnosis. The need to improve cancer-related health services for Indigenous Australians is apparent, however the available evidence is currently inadequate to effectively direct efforts. For example, despite high cancer mortality rates, there is little information about palliative care services, their models of care or their uptake by Indigenous cancer patients. Through an increased understanding of how cancer affects Indigenous Australians and the establishment of collaborations, in particular the recently funded Centre for Research Excellence DISCOVER-TT, and networks such as the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia, an opportunity for targeted efforts in improving cancer outcomes for Indigenous Australians is tangible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Forum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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