Rethinking Cancer, Raising Hope Roundtable

Rethinking Cancer, Raising Hope: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorian Communities’ ‘State of Knowledge’ on Cancer Roundtable Report by Kerry Arabena, Zoe Wainer, Alison Hocking, Leanne Adams and Viki Briggs

Printed copies are available from Onemda by emailing Onemda-Info@unimelb.edu.au, or the report can be downloaded here [PDF 4.2MB].

Published in conjunction with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and launched on Friday 28 August 2015, this report summarises the findings from a Roundtable held a year earlier at the Melbourne Museum. The Roundtable's aim was to improve collaboration in clinical care and research into cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, which in turn will improve cancer prevention, control and treatment for Aboriginal communities in Victoria.

Bringing together 45 participants from cancer services, and community controlled, mainstream, government and non-government agencies, the Roundtable’s focus was on the provision of cancer prevention and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Victoria. Participants heard from service providers, agency managers, peak bodies and representative organisations, as well as, importantly, from individuals and carers, some of whom shared personal stories about their cancer journey.

Key Priority Areas for Future Action

- Develop a coordinated Cancer Action Plan for Victoria – in which there is a focus on Aboriginal community engagement, coordination of services and a commitment to evidence-informed strategic initiatives.

- Understand and address barriers to early detection – find out how, why and where Aboriginal people go or don’t go for cancer treatment.

- Demonstrate how the work of a Cancer Action Plan, with support from strategic alliances, can help to Close the Gap in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people in Victoria.

- Support a strong, focused workforce that engages communities on early screening and detection initiatives. This will require a commitment to Health Care Provider training and support for the uptake of innovative approaches to cancer education, detection, treatment and after-care, and home-based support.

- Develop Aboriginal capacity building in cancer research and cancer control, particularly in oncology.

- Pilot innovative transition services for patients with cancer between institutions and home.

- Develop a greater understanding of the needs of other people involved in a patient’s cancer journey.

- Improve the patient pathway so Aboriginal people can access timely, appropriate care and are supported as needed.

- Promote data linkage and data strengthening opportunities.

- Find local explanations for epidemiological data disparities.

Participants also asked for the development process to include opportunities to meet again to discuss appropriate and acceptable strategies for Aboriginal cancer care, and for further research and community consultation.