Im­prov­ing out­comes

Chinchilla News - - NEWS | OPINION -

THIS week is NAIDOC Week, a time to recog­nise and cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions of In­dige­nous Aus­tralians.

The theme, Be­cause of Her, We Can, hon­ours the role of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women and the in­flu­ence they have in their com­mu­ni­ties and Aus­tralia.

This is also an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity to raise aware­ness of women’s health inequal­i­ties to close the gap in sur­vival dis­par­i­ties for can­cer and other chronic dis­eases.

While In­dige­nous can­cer sur­vival rates have im­proved, dis­par­ity rates re­main un­changed be­tween In­dige­nous and non-In­dige­nous Aus­tralians.

We know In­dige­nous peo­ple are more likely to be di­ag­nosed with late-stage can­cers and over­all have lower par­tic­i­pa­tion rates in can­cer screen­ing.

We urge Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women to take part in el­i­gi­ble screen­ing, and en­cour­age other women in their life to take part, to help save lives.

This in­cludes the Na­tional Cer­vi­cal Screen­ing Pro­gram, the Na­tional Breast Can­cer Screen­ing Pro­gram, and the Na­tional Bowel Can­cer Screen­ing Pro­gram.

Screen­ing rates are lower among In­dige­nous Queens­lan­ders for all three pro­grams – im­prove­ment in up­take is vi­tal to help de­tect can­cer early.

Can­cer screen­ing aids with early de­tec­tion sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves the like­li­hood of treat­ing can­cer suc­cess­fully if a di­ag­no­sis does oc­cur.

Trag­i­cally, 20 per cent of the can­cer deaths among In­dige­nous can­cer pa­tients can still be at­trib­uted to the sur­vival dis­par­ity – tak­ing part in el­i­gi­ble screen­ing pro­grams could help close some of that gap.

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