NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health  : October is #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth Our Feature Story @VACCHO_org BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans Plus Download Resources from @CancerAustralia

 ” October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Take the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Research shows that survival is lower in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer than in the general population.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to provide women with important information about breast cancer awareness, early detection as well as breast cancer treatment and care.

Looking after your breasts – Find breast cancer early and survive see Part 2 Below

See BCNA story Part 4 Below

BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights and saying hello to mammograms in hot pink vans, with beautifully created cultural shawls and lots of love and giggles.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the organisations have introduced a program which enables Aboriginal women living in regional and remote areas of Victoria to access safe, free and comforting breast screening facilities.

 “ The idea for the program was born from conversations between BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore and VACCHO Manager of Public Health and Research, Susan Forrester.

Ms Forrester said that most women shy away from breast screening due to the safety aspect.

“Why we use the word safe is because there are lots of layers around health and some of the themes that were emerging were that women may have felt a bit uncomfortable being screened for multiple reasons and at times, the staff they had contact with across the health system, although [they] may have been very well meaning, lacked cultural awareness.”

See full story Part 3 below

Picture opening graphic  : Almost all the DWECH BreastScreen Team. Rose Hollis DWECH Community Worker, Allira Maes DWECH Aboriginal Health Worker, Joanne Ronald BSV Radiographer, Lisa Joyce BSV Health Promotion Officer

Part 1 Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians

About 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are diagnosed with cancer every day. Indigenous Australians have a slightly lower rate of cancer diagnosis but are almost 30 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians1.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians.

Our work includes:

  • raising awareness of risk factors and promoting awareness and early detection for the community
  • developing evidence-based information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer and health professionals
  • providing evidence-based cancer information and training resources to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
  • increasing understanding of best-practice health care and support, and
  • supporting research.

We have a range of resources which provide information to support you and the work you do:

Breast Cancer: a handbook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers

This handbook has been written to help health professionals support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer. Increasing the understanding of breast cancer may help to encourage earlier investigation of symptoms, and contribute to the quality of life of people living with breast cancer.

This handbook has been written for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Liaison Officers involved in the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer in community and clinical settings.

Download HERE

Part 2 BE BREAST AWARE

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. Remember you don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.

Changes to look for include:

  • new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • change in the size or shape of your breast
  • change to the nipple, such as crustingulcerredness or inversion
  • nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families

Cancer Australia has developed a new resource My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families which outlines the clinical management of the early breast cancer journey to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer and their families.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Part 3 BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights

Read full story from NIT 

The program was trialled, a screen-friendly shawl was designed using artwork by Lyn Briggs, and the shawls were gifted to each woman who was screened.

The trial was a result of a team of around 15 women who screened 14 First Nations women. The feedback received was exactly what BreastScreen Victoria’s Senior Health Promotion’s Officer, Lisa Joyce had hoped for.

“The feedback included things like, I feel safe, protected by culture, cultural safety blanket, made me proud of who I am and visible, the shawl was a screen from feeling shame and it was beautiful, easy to wear and makes you feel comfortable and safe,” Ms Joyce said.

BreastScreen Victoria and VACCHO have partnered with eight Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) who will receive visits from Nina and Marjorie – BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans.

The vans will work with ACCHOs to provide Aboriginal women with free mammograms, which assist in the identification of breast cancer in its early stages. The program is aimed particularly at women between 50 and 74, who are at higher risk of breast cancer.

Picture above :Rose Hollis who is a DWECH Community Worker had her breast screen and then spent the rest of her day driving Community members to their screenings.

The program will also gift a shawl to 50 women from each centre – which will be printed with a design of their country.

Amber Neilley, VACCHO’s State-wide Health Services Program Officer said artworks have been created by artists both established and emerging.

“Each shawl has been designed by a local artist, we are taking the shawls with the designs back to country,” Ms Neilley said.

Ms Joyce said that bringing the vans onto ACCHO sites offers leadership to those centres.

“We are playing into self-determination in that way as the organisation is in control of who screens and what happens in their community in that time,” Ms Joyce said.

“Many of the sites we are going to … have permanent breast screening facilities in the town but we know that Aboriginal women aren’t attending those clinics so we are trying to increase that by bringing it to a familiar place.”

“Taking the van and using the shawls is the first step in improving Aboriginal women’s experiences when they come to breast screens. I think unfamiliarity, lack of trust and potential fear is why we don’t have that contact with many women.”

Research shows that once a woman has screened for breast cancer, she is more likely to regularly screen – a hope the team have for the women in these communities.

“We hope that when the project leaves town the shawl will be in the permanent screening space and people will become involved,” Ms Forrester said.

“We want to be able to say here is a strength-based, culturally-led model that can go national, and international. The CEO of BreastScreen has just been at the World Indigenous Cancer Conference in Canada and presented this on our behalf and she has had a world of interest.”

Dates and locations for BreastScreen Victoria’s screening vans include:

  • 30/9 – 4/10 at Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service (DWECH)
  • 7/10 – 10/10 at Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation
  • 14/10 – 18/10 at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 21/10 – 24/10 at Kirrae Health Service
  • 28/10 – 1/11 at Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 11/11 – 15/11 at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 18/11 to 22/11 at Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation.

For more information, visit: https://www.breastscreen.org.au/.

Part 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women share their breast cancer experience in new BCNA video

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have come together to share their stories and experiences as breast cancer survivors as part of a  video produced by BCNA.

See Website 

The video shares the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander women affected by breast cancer and aims to encourage other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to connect, seek support and information on breast cancer.

A number of women in the video, including Aunty Josie Hansen, highlight the importance of early detection.

‘Early detection is really important; not just for women, but for men too,’ Aunty Josie said.

‘Being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t a death sentence, there’s always hope … as long as you have breath there’s hope,’ she said.

Aunty Thelma reflected that breast cancer is ‘just a terrible disease’.

‘I think it’s so important that women go and have their breast screens done,’ she said.

The video was filmed at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Think Tank at BCNA’s National Summit in March. The Think Tank was facilitated by BCNA board member Professor Jacinta Elston.  Jacinta said that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s outcomes are poorer both in survival and at diagnosis.

The Think Tank brought together 48 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from around Australia to share issues around treatment and survivorship of breast cancer in their communities. The key outcome of the Think Tank was the development of a three-year Action Plan that outlines BCNA’s key future work, in partnership with national peak Aboriginal health organisations.

The group worked to develop and prioritise future action to improve support and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This included identifying locally based cultural healing projects, to allow breast cancer survivors to connect and support each other in culturally safe spaces. A weaving project in Queensland and a possum skin cloak project in Victoria is being undertaken and used to support the training of health professionals in local culture and knowledge. The Culture is Healing projects are supported by Cancer Australia.

This video was produced as part of BCNA’s ongoing commitment to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

You can watch the video below:

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Cancer #Smoking : Report from Canada where 400 delegates are meeting at #WICC2019 with theme ‘Respect, Reconciliation and Reciprocity “ discussing cancer and its impact on Indigenous peoples.

“Cancer has been largely overlooked amongst Indigenous populations world-wide and remains the second leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “

Professor Gail Garvey, who convened the first WICC and is co-chair of WICC 2019 :Pictured above with Professor Tom Calma and Blackfoot Fancy Feather Dancer Kyle Agapi.

“Smoking is the single biggest contributor to early deaths, including cancer deaths, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – which is why it is so important that we encourage people not to take up smoking and assist smokers to stop “

Professor Tom Calma AO, National Coordinator, Tackling Indigenous Smoking, and member of the Cancer Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Leadership Group

Read over 80 Aboriginal Health and Cancer articles published by NACCHO in past 7 years

Read over 130 Aboriginal Health and Smoking articles published by NACCHO in past 7 years

Indigenous communities, consumers and health experts from around the world have come together at the opening of the second World Indigenous Cancer Conference (WICC) at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre in Canada.

The conference, which has drawn a large contingent of Australian delegates, follows on from the success of the inaugural WICC held in Brisbane, Australia in 2016.

The WICC 2019 theme is ‘Respect, Reconciliation and Reciprocity,’ with over 400 delegates from across the globe discussing cancer and its impact on Indigenous peoples.

World-wide, Indigenous peoples bear a disproportionately higher cancer burden than non-Indigenous peoples, which makes WICC 2019 so very important.

Hosted by the Canadian Indigenous Research Network Against Cancer (CIRNAC) in partnership with the host sponsor Alberta Health Services, this premier event is supported by the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization.

 Professor Gail Garvey , Blackfoot Piikani Chief Stan Grier and Professor Tom Calma 

WICC 2019 has drawn expertise of leading cancer researchers, public health practitioners, clinicians, advocacy groups, Indigenous community leaders and consumers.

They are coming together to share knowledge about critical issues across the cancer continuum from prevention and treatment to survivorship and end of life.

Several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates with a lived experience of cancer are making an important contribution to the conference.

Des McGrady, an Aboriginal cancer survivor, said “An international meeting is important for the information sharing that we can pass on to community and people working in this space. This will allow us to work in partnership to drive positive change.”

The burden of cancer among Indigenous populations is of major public health importance and forums for collaboration such as this conference will strengthen research and service delivery and help accelerate progress in improving cancer outcomes.

Indigenous leadership, culturally sound service delivery and encouragement of mainstream services to prioritise Indigenous cancer are critical to these efforts and central to WICC 2019.

For more details about the conference, please visit the website: http://wicc2019.com

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #CancerAwareness : @JacintaElston @KelvinKongENT Hey you mob It’s ok to talk about #cancer – For assistance download #YarnforLife resources

“Yarn for Life aims to reduce feelings of shame and fear associated with cancer and highlights the importance of normalising conversation around cancer and encouraging early detection of the disease.

It also emphasises the value of support along the patient journey.”

Professor Jacinta Elston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), Monash University, said that finding cancer early gave people the best chance of surviving and living well.

“Yarn for Life seeks to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in screening programs, discuss cancer with their doctor or health care worker openly, and if cancer is diagnosed, complete their cancer treatment.”

Australia’s first Australian Aboriginal surgeon Associate Professor Kelvin Kong, University of Newcastle : continued below 

Download Yarn for Life Resources HERE

Read over 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Awareness articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

In a national first, Cancer Australia has launched Yarn for Life, a new initiative to reduce the impact of cancer within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by encouraging and normalising discussion about the disease.

Cancer is a growing health problem and the second leading cause of death among Indigenous Australians who are, on average, 40 percent more likely to die from cancer than non-indigenous Australians.

The multi-faceted health promotion Yarn for Life has been developed by and with Indigenous Australians, and weaves the central message that it is okay to talk about cancer by sharing personal stories of courage and survivorship from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Yarn for Life features 3 individual experiences of cancer which are also stories of hope.

“While significant gains have been made with regard to cancer overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes. Cancer affects not only those diagnosed with the disease but also their families, carers, Elders and community,” said Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO, Cancer Australia.

Associate Professor Kong said it was also important for health services to support better outcomes for Indigenous patients by being culturally aware.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, health and connection to land, culture community and identity are intrinsically linked. Optimal care that is respectful of, and responsive to, the cultural preferences, sensitivities, needs and values of patients, is critical to good health care outcomes.”

The Yarn for Life initiative is supported by two consumer resources which outline what patients should expect at all points on the cancer pathway.

Yarn for Life will feature television, radio and social media resources designed to be shared with friends, family and the community, to carry on the Yarn for Life conversation online.

SEEING YOUR DOCTOR OR HEALTH WORKER

Finding cancer early gives you the best chance of getting better and living well. The good news is there are things you can do to find cancer early. If there are any changes in your body that could be due to cancer, it’s really important to have them checked out. Speak to your health worker about:

  • any new or unusual changes in your body
  • how you are feeling
  • whether you are in any pain
  • whether anyone in your family has or had cancer
  • any other problems that are worrying you.

Free screening programs

It’s also important that you and your family participate in screening programs for breast, bowel and cervical cancers.

You can find out more about these free programs including how old you need to be to participate at cancerscreening.gov.au. Remember most of us will need to go to a check-up or screening at some point in our lives—so there’s no shame in talking to family or friends about it as well as your health care worker.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #chronicdisease @SandroDemaio How #obesity ups your chronic disease risk and what to do about it

” Almost two in every three Australian adults are now overweight or obese, as are one in four of our children.

This rising obesity burden is the outcome of a host of factors, many of which are beyond our individual control – and obesity is linked to a number of chronic diseases.”

Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases. Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science) see Part 2 below 

This article was originally published HERE 

Part 1 NACCHO Policy

” The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

” Many community members in the NT who suffer from chronic illnesses would benefit immensely from using Health Care Homes.

Unfortunately, with limited English, this meant an increased risk of them being inadvertently excluded from the initiative.

First, Italk Alice Springs produced the English version of the story. Then using qualified interpreters, they produced Aboriginal language versions in eight languages: Anmatyerre, Alyawarr, Arrernte, East Side Kriol, West Side Kriol, Pitjatjantjara, Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha

Read Article HERE

Figure 2.22-1 Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised) by BMI category and Indigenous status, 2012–13
Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised)

Source: ABS and AIHW analysis of 2012–13 AATSIHS

Read over 60 Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years

What is chronic disease?

Chronic disease is a broad term, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancers, certain lung conditions, mental illness and genetic disorders. They are often defined by having complex and multiple causes, and are long-term or persistent (‘chronic’ actually means long-term).

How is obesity linked to chronic disease?

Obesity increases the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes and at least 13 types of cancer.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity:

Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and even being slightly overweight increases this risk. Type 2 diabetes is characterised physiologically by decreased insulin secretion as well as increased insulin resistance due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Left uncontrolled, this can lead to a host of nasty outcomes like blindness, kidney problems, heart disease and even loss of feeling in our hands and feet.

Obstructive sleep apnoea and obesity:

This is another chronic disease often linked to obesity. Sleep apnoea is caused when our large air passage is partially or fully blocked by a combination of factors, including the weight of fat tissue sitting on our neck. It can cause us to jolt awake, gasping for oxygen. It leads to poor sleep, which adds physiological pressure to critical organs.

A woman preparing vegetables for a meal

Cancer and obesity:

This is a disease of altered gene expression. It originates from changes to the cell’s DNA caused by a range of factors, including inherited mutations, inflammation, hormones, and external factors including tobacco use, radiation from the sun, and carcinogenic agents in food. Strong evidence also links obesity to a number of cancers including throat cancer, bowel cancer, cancer of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and kidney cancer.

Obesity is also associated with high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

This might sound overwhelming, but it’s not all bad news. Here are a few things we can all start to do today to reduce our risk of obesity and associated chronic disease:

1. Eat more fruit and veg

Most dietary advice revolves around eating less. But if we can replace an unhealthy diet with an abundance of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables – at least two servings of fruit per day and five servings of vegetables – we can reduce our risk of obesity whilst still embracing our love for good food.

2. Limit our alcohol consumption

Forgo that glass of wine or beer after a long hard day at work and opt instead for something else that helps us relax. Pure alcohol is inherently full of energy – containing twice the energy per gram as sugar. This energy is surplus and non-essential to our nutritional needs, so contributes to our widening waistlines. And whether we’re out for drinks with mates or at a function, we can reduce our consumption by spacing out our drinks and holding off before reaching for another glass.

3. Get moving

While not everyone loves a morning sprint, there are many enjoyable ways to maintain a sufficient level of physical activity. Doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day is an effective way of keeping our waistlines in check. So, take a break to stretch out the muscles a few times during the workday, spend an afternoon at the local pool, get out into the garden or take some extra time to ride or walk to work. If none of these appeal, do some research to find the right exercise that will be fun and achievable.

Two women exercising in a park together

4. Buddy up

There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to get us healthy and active. Pick a friend who has the same goals and encourage each other to keep going. Sign up for exercise classes together, meet for a walk, have them over for a healthy meal, share tips and seek out support when feeling uninspired.

5. Prioritise sleep

Some argue that sleep is the healthy icing on the longevity cake. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless, with recent research suggesting it can even benefit our decision-making and self-discipline, making it easier to resist that ‘between-meal’ treat. Furthermore, lack of sleep can increase our appetite and see us lose the enthusiasm to stay active.

Above all, we need to foster patience and perseverance when it comes to achieving a healthy weight. It might not happen overnight, but it is within reach.

Let’s start today!

Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science), Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : #refreshtheCTGrefresh : Download the Select Committee into the #Obesity Epidemic in Australia 22 recommendations : With feedback from @ACDPAlliance @janemartinopc

The Federal Government must impose a tax on sugary drinks, mandate Health Star Ratings and ban junk food ads on TV until 9 pm if it wants to drive down Australia’s obesity rates, a Senate committee has concluded.

The Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic, comprising senators from all major parties and chaired by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, has tabled a far-reaching report with 22 recommendations.”

See SMH Article Part 1 below

Download PDF copy of report

Senate Obesity report

Extract from Report Programs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

Recommendation 21 see all Recommendations Part 2

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” 

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.See in full Part 3

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it .See part 4 Below for full press release

Part 1 SMH Article 

About 63 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

In a move that will likely delight health groups and enrage the food and beverage industries, it has recommended the government slap a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), saying this would reduce sugar consumption, improve public health and push manufacturers to reformulate their products.

“The World Health Organisation has recommended governments tax sugary drinks and, at present, over 30 jurisdictions across the world have introduced a SSB tax as part of their effort and commitment toward preventing and controlling the rise of obesity,” the report said.

While health groups, such as Cancer Council, have demanded a 20 per cent levy, the committee suggested the government find the best fiscal model to achieve a price increase of at least 20 per cent.

“The impacts of sugary drinks are borne most by those on low income and they will also reap the most benefits from measures that change the behaviour of manufacturers,” it said.

About 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

At the heart of the report is the recognition of the need for a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising government, health, industry and community representatives, which would sit within the Department of Health and be responsible for a National Obesity Strategy as well as a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

“Australia does not have an overarching strategy to combat obesity,” it said.

“Many of the policy areas required to identify the causes, impacts and potential solutions to the obesity problem span every level of government.”

The committee has also urged the government to mandate the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, which is undergoing a five-year review, by 2020.

The voluntary front-of-pack labelling system has come under fire for producing questionable, confusing ratings – such as four stars for Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain – and becoming a “marketing tool”.

“Making it mandatory will drive food companies to reformulate more of their products in order to achieve higher HSR ratings,” the report said.

“The committee also believes that, once the HSR is made mandatory, the HSR calculator could be regularly adjusted to make it harder to achieve a five star rating.”

Pointing to a conflict-of-interest, it has recommended the HSR’s Technical Advisory Group expel members representing the industry.

“Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but [should] no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group,” it said.

The government has also been asked to consider introducing legislation to restrict junk food ads on free-to-air television until 9pm.

The group said existing voluntary codes were inadequate and also suggested that all junk food ads in all forms of media should display the product’s HSR.

The committee is made up of seven senators – two  Liberals, two Labor, one each from the Greens and One Nation and independent Tim Storer.

The Liberals wrote dissenting statements, saying a taskforce was unnecessary, HSR should remain voluntary, there shouldn’t be a sugar tax, and current advertising regulations were enough.

“No witnesses who appeared before the inquiry could point to any jurisdiction in the world where the introduction of a sugar tax led to a fall in obesity rates,” they said.

Labor senators also said there was no need for a sugar tax because there isn’t enough evidence.

“Labor senators are particularly concerned that an Australian SSB would likely be regressive, meaning that it would impact lower-income households disproportionately,” they said.

Committee chair, Dr Di Natale said: “We need the full suite of options recommended by the committee if we’re serious about making Australians happier, healthier, and more active.”

Part 2 ALL 22 Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Commonwealth funding for overweight and obesity prevention efforts and treatment programs should be contingent on the appropriate use of language to avoid stigma and blame in all aspects of public health campaigns, program design and delivery.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Department of Health work with organisations responsible for training medical and allied health professionals to incorporate modules specifically aimed at increasing the understanding and awareness of stigma and blame in medical, psychological and public health interventions of overweight and obesity.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising representatives across all knowledge sectors from federal, state, and local government, and alongside stakeholders from the NGO, private sectors and community members. The Taskforce should sit within the Commonwealth Department of Health and be responsible for all aspects of government policy direction, implementation and the management of funding

Recommendation 3.1

The committee recommends that the newly established National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Obesity Strategy, in consultation with all key stakeholders across government, the NGO and private sectors.

Recommendation 3.2

The committee recommends that the Australian Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of the following changes to the current Health Star Rating system:

  • The Health Star Rating Calculator be modified to address inconsistencies in the calculation of ratings in relation to:
  • foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat;
  • the current treatment of added sugar;
  • the current treatment of fruit juices;
  • the current treatment of unprocessed fruit and vegetables; and
  • the ‘as prepared’ rules.
  • Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group.
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends Food Standards Australia New Zealand undertake a review of voluntary front-of-pack labelling schemes to ensure they are fit-forpurpose and adequately represent the nutritional value of foods and beverages.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar on packaged foods and drinks.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council work with the Department of Health to develop a nutritional information label for fast food menus with the goal of achieving national consistency and making it mandatory in all jurisdictions.

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends the Australian Government introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with the objectives of reducing consumption, improving public health and accelerating the reformulation of products.

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that, as part of the 2019 annual review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, Free TV Australia introduce restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9.00pm.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the Australian Government consider introducing legislation to restrict discretionary food and drink advertising on free-toair television until 9.00pm if these restrictions are not voluntary introduced by Free TV Australia by 2020.

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends the Australian Government make mandatory the display of the Health Star Rating for food and beverage products advertised on all forms of media.

Recommendation 14

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of a range of National Education Campaigns with different sectors of the Australian community. Educational campaigns will be context dependent and aimed at supporting individuals, families and communities to build on cultural practices and improve nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet, physical activity and well-being.

Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that the National Obesity Taskforce, when established, form a sub-committee directly responsible for the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

Recommendation 16

The committee recommends the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) consider adding obesity to the list of medical conditions eligible for the Chronic Disease Management scheme.

Recommendation 17

The committee recommends the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and other college of professional bodies educate their members about the benefits of bariatric surgical interventions for some patients.

Recommendation 18

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce commission evaluations informed by multiple methods of past and current multistrategy prevention programs with the view of designing future programs.

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of multi-strategy, community based prevention programs in partnership with communities.

Recommendation 20

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Physical Activity Strategy.

Recommendation 21

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Part 3 Protect our children chronic disease groups support calls to restrict junk food advertising

Junk food advertising to children urgently needs to be better regulated.

That’s a recommendation from the Senate report on obesity, released last night, and a message that the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance strongly supports.

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan said one in four children are already overweight or obese, and more likely to grow into adults who are overweight or obese with greater risk of chronic disease.

“While there are multiple factors influencing unhealthy weight gain, this is not an excuse for inaction,” she said. “Food companies are spending big money targeting our kids, unhealthy food advertising fills our television screens, our smartphones and digital media channels.

“Currently, self-regulation by industry is limited and there are almost no restrictions for advertising unhealthy foods online – this has to stop.

“We need to act now to stem this tide of obesity and preventable chronic disease, or we risk being the first generation to leave our children with a shorter life expectancy than our own.”

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance also welcomed the Report’s recommendations for the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, improvements to the Health Star Rating food labelling system, development a National Physical Activity Strategy and introduction of a sugary drinks levy.

“We support the recent Government commitment to develop a national approach to obesity and urge the government to incorporate the recommendations from the Senate report for a well-rounded approach to tackle obesity in Australia,” Ms McGowan said.

Part 4

Sugary drink levy among 22 recommendations

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has welcomed a Senate Inquiry report into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia as an important step toward saving Australians from a lifetime of chronic disease and even premature death.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it.

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

“Sugar is a problem in our diets and sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar for Australians. Consumption of these beverages is associated with chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and tooth decay,” Ms Martin said.

“We have been calling for a 20% health levy on sugary drinks for a number of years, but Australia continues to lag behind 45 other jurisdictions around the world that have introduced levies. When sugary drinks are often cheaper than water, it’s time to take action.”

The report also calls for a review of the current rules around junk food advertising to children.

Ms Martin insisted any review should prioritise an end to the advertising industry’s selfregulated codes.

“We know industry marketing is having a negative effect; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for. It’s wallpaper in their lives, bombarding them during their favourite TV shows, infiltrating their social media feeds and plastering their sports grounds and uniforms when they play sport,” Ms Martin said.

“With more than one in four Australian children overweight or obese, it’s time for the Government to acknowledge that leaving food and beverage companies to make their own sham rules allows them to continue to prioritise profits over kids’ health.”

While the Inquiry’s report calls for a National Obesity Strategy, a commitment announced by the COAG Health Ministers earlier this year, Ms Martin stressed that this must be developed independently, without the involvement of the ultra-processed food industry, which has already hampered progress to date.

“The OPC, along with 40 leading community and public health groups, have set out clear actions on how best to tackle obesity in our consensus report, Tipping the Scales. These actions came through strongly from many of the groups who participated in the inquiry and we are pleased to see them reflected in the recommendations.

“The evidence is clear on what works to prevent and reduce obesity, but for real impact we need leadership from policy makers. We need to stop placing the blame on individuals. The Federal and State governments must now work together to push those levers under their control to stem the tide of obesity.”

The senate inquiry report contains 22 recommendations which address the causes, control of obesity, including:

  • The establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, with a view to develop a National Obesity Strategy
  • Introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020
  • Adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar
  • Restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9pm
  • Implementation of a National Education Campaign aimed at improving nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet and physical activity
  • Form a sub-committee from the National Obesity Taskforce around the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy

BACKGROUND:

On 10 May 2018, the Senate voted to establish an inquiry to examine the impacts of Australia’s obesity epidemic.

The Select Committee into the obesity epidemic was established on 16 May 2018 to look at the causes of rising levels of obese and overweight people in Australia and how the issue affects children. It also considered the economic burden of the health concern and the effectiveness of existing programs to improve diets and tackle childhood obesity. The inquiry has received 145 submissions and has published its full report today.

The Committee held public hearings from public health, industry and community groups. The OPC provided a submission and Jane Martin gave evidence at one of these sessions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #rethinksugarydrink : A new campaign asking people to reduce their sugar intake highlights the link between obesity and 13 different types of cancer

 ” Obesity is now a leading preventable cause of cancer , but less than half of all Australians are aware of the link . A new campaign launched today by Cancer Council Victoria is aiming to change this.

In a ground-breaking new public awareness campaign, Cancer Council Victoria will expose the link between obesity and 13 types of cancer by depicting the toxic fat around internal organs.

As many as 98% of Australians are aware that obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but as little as 40% of Australians know about its link with cancer . ”

Being above a healthy weight is now a leading preventable cause of cancer. Our new campaign urges people to avoid to reduce their risk

You wouldn’t put this much sugar in a tea or coffee? But if you’re drinking one soft drink a day, over 20 years – that’s 73,000 teaspoons.”

Dr Gihan Jayaweera

A third of Victorians admit to drinking more than a litre of sugary drink each week 7, that’s more than 5.5kgs of sugar a year. We want people to realise that they could be drinking their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer,”

Dr Ahmad Aly

 ” 69% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered overweight (29%) or obese (40%); among children this is 30% (20% overweight, 10% obese) “

Read over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles

Or see Statistics part 2 Below 

SEE NEWS COVERAGE

https://www.9news.com.au/7f9400a3-9f9d-4e39-9eb2-eef88a7291ce

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, acknowledged that the campaign’s portrayal of toxic fat could be confronting but said so was the fact that nearly two-thirds of Australians were overweight or obese 4.

“While talking about weight is a sensitive issue, we can’t shy away from the risk being above a healthy weight poses to our health.” Mr Harper said.

“With around 3,900 cancers in Australia each year linked to being above a healthy weight, it’s vital that we work hard to help people understand the link and encourage them to take steps to reduce their risk 5.”

Sugary drinks contribute the most added sugar to Australians’ diets 6, so Cancer Council Victoria is focusing on how these beverages can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can increase the risk of certain cancers. The campaign will communicate that one way of reducing the risk is to cut sugary drinks from your diet.

The ad features Melbourne surgeon Dr Ahmad Aly exposing in graphic detail what sugary drinks could be doing to your health, as his laparoscopic camera delves inside a patient’s body to expose the dangerous toxic fat around internal organs.

Watch Video 

Dr Aly has seen first-hand the impact toxic fat has on people’s health and hopes the campaign will make people think again before reaching for sugary drinks.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that while the campaign aims to get people thinking about their own habits, Cancer Council Victoria and partner organisations are also working to encourage governments, the food industry, and communities to make changes.

“It’s virtually impossible to escape the enormous amount of marketing for sugary drinks surrounding us on TV, social media and public transport. It’s also easier to get a sugary drink than it is to find a water fountain in many public places, and that’s got to change. We need to take sugary drinks out of schools, recreation and healthcare settings to make it easier for Victorians to make healthy choices.”

“The need for a healthy weight strategy in Victoria, as well as nationally, is overdue. In the same way tobacco reforms have saved lives, we now need to apply the same approach to improving diets”, Ms Martin said.

Case study: Fiona Humphreys

Since giving up the sweet stuff, Fiona Humphreys has more energy and has managed to shed the kilos and keep them off.

“I used to drink at least two sugary drinks every day as a pick me up, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I was addicted to the sugar rush and thought I needed them to get through my busy day.”

“After giving up sugary drinks I saw an immediate change in both my mood and my waistline. I lost 7 kilos just by making that one simple change and I haven’t looked back.”

“I decided to go cold turkey and switched to soda or mineral water with a slice of lime or lemon. I tricked my mind to enjoy the bubbles and put it into a beautiful glass. I feel healthier and my mind is clearer as a result.”

The campaign will run for five weeks and be shown on TV and radio and will feature across social media channels as well as outdoors across the state.

A dedicated campaign website cancervic.org.au/healthyweight will provide factsheets for health professionals and consumers and digital elements about how to make small lifestyle changes to improve people’s health.

Top tips to avoid sugary drinks 

  • Avoid going down the soft drink aisle at the supermarket and beware of the specials at the checkout and service stations.
  • If you’re eating out, don’t go with the default soft drink – see what other options there are, or just ask for water.
  • Carry a water bottle, so you don’t have to buy a drink if you’re thirsty.
  • Herbal teas, sparkling water, home-made smoothies or fruit infused water are simple alternatives that still taste great.
  • For inspiration and recipe ideas visit cancervic.org.au/healthyweight

How is sugar linked to weight gain

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate which provides energy to the body. However, eating too much sugar over time can lead to weight gain. Strong evidence shows that being above a healthy weight increases the risk of developing 13 different types of cancer and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Let’s unpack what happens when our body receives more energy than it needs, how this can lead to weight gain and what you can do to decrease your risk of cancer.

Where do we find sugar?

In terms of health risks, we need to be concerned about ‘added sugar’. That is, sugar that has been added to food or drink.

Natural sugars in foods

  • Fruit and milk products
  • High in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibre or calcium.
  • We should eat these foods every day.

Sugar added to food

  • Processed foods
  • These foods are unhealthy and high in energy (kJ).
  • They don’t have other nutrients we need such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • We should limit these foods.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities tend to have higher rates of obesity and sugary drink consumption and experience poorer health outcomes as a result.

We know that more than half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community drink sugary drinks almost every day.

The Overview also examined factors contributing to health, including nutrition and body weight. Some statistics of note include:

  • dietary risks contribute 9.7% to the total burden of disease for Aboriginal people
  • 69% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered overweight (29%) or obese (40%); among children this is 30% (20% overweight, 10% obese)
  • 54% of Indigenous Australians meet the daily recommended serves of fruit; only 8% meet the daily recommended serves of vegetables
  • both measures are lower in remote communities compared with urban areas and intake is far more likely to be inadequate among the unemployed and those who did not finish school
  • on average, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consume 41% of their daily energy in the form of discretionary foods — 8.8% as cereal-based products (cakes, biscuits & pastries) and 6.9% as non-alcoholic beverages (soft drinks)
  • average daily sugar consumption is 111g — two-thirds (or the equivalent of 18tsp of white sugar) of which are free sugars from discretionary foods and beverages
  • 22% of Aboriginal people reported running out of food and being unable to afford more in the past 12 months; 7% said they had run out and gone hungry — both were more prevalent in remote areas

In the latest issue of JournalWatch, Dr Melissa Stoneham takes a look at obesity in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities and the struggle to eat well against the odds

Read in full at Croakey

Yorta Yorta woman Michelle Crilly gave up her sugary drink habit and hasn’t looked back. Watch her story.

Video: Rethink Sugary Drink - Michelle Crilly

Read more about the ‘Our Stories’ campaign and hear from more inspiring Victorian Aboriginal community members who have cut back on sugary drinks on our partner site Rethink Sugary Drink.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth : Download @AIHW BreastScreen Australia monitoring report :Download #Indigenous Resources from @CancerAustralia 

 

” Around 55% of women in the targeted age group of 50–74 participated in the BreastScreen Australia in 2015–2016 with more than 1.7 million screening. Breast cancer mortality has decreased since BreastScreen Australia began from 74 deaths per 100,000 women aged 50–74 in 1991 to 44 deaths per 100,000 women in 2015.

While Indigenous women experience a lower age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer than non-Indigenous women (rate ratio of 0.9; AIHW 2017c), breast cancer is still the most common cancer diagnosed in Indigenous women. “

Download the full AIHW Report aihw-can-116

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #BreastCancerAwareness #getChecked : 1.Download #Indigenous Resources from @CancerAustralia 

Participation in BreastScreen Australia and breast cancer outcomes in Indigenous women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of Australia, hereafter respectfully referred to as Indigenous women, experience a high burden from breast cancer.

While Indigenous women experience a lower age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer than non-Indigenous women (rate ratio of 0.9; AIHW 2017c), breast cancer is still the most common cancer diagnosed in Indigenous women.

Aspects of breast cancer and breast screening in Indigenous women are reported by the AIHW and others in various reports and publications, but considering these data individually is not as valuable as considering all available data collectively.

This chapter therefore brings together the BreastScreen Australia participation, incidence and mortality data that previously appeared in several places in this report, and supplements these with additional analyses on incidence, survival and mortality, as well as incorporating data and findings from other published sources.

5.1 Participation in BreastScreen Australia in Indigenous women

Indigenous status of women who participate in BreastScreen Australia is self-reported by women at the time of their screen.

In 2015–2016, participation of Indigenous women aged 50–74 in BreastScreen Australia was 39.1%, compared with the non-Indigenous rate of 54.3% (age-standardised).

Participation trends for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women are shown in Figure 5.1. Historical Indigenous participation rates have been recalculated using new Indigenous population estimates so that meaningful comparisons between reporting periods can be made (see Box 5.1).

Trend data show that the participation rates in Indigenous women aged 50–69 have increased, from around 32%–33% for all reporting periods between 2001–2002 and 2011–2012 to 38% in 2014–2015 and 39% in 2015–2016—although Indigenous women have always had a lower participation rate than non-Indigenous women (Figure 5.2).

Lower participation of Indigenous women may reflect a decreased opportunity to screen, compared with non-Indigenous women, and/or different screening behaviour of Indigenous women (that is, being less likely to screen even with the same opportunity to do so). There may also be a level of under-reporting of Indigenous status in BreastScreen data (as Indigenous status is self-reported by women at the time of their screen), which would also have the effect of lowering the apparent participation rate. This is because under-identification of Indigenous women in BreastScreen data would reduce the size of the numerator without affecting the denominator.

 

Figure 5.1: Participation of women aged 50–74 in BreastScreen Australia, by Indigenous status, 2015–2016 

Source: AIHW analysis of BreastScreen Australia data. Data for this figure are available in Table A1.8.

Figure 5.2: Participation of women aged 50–69 in BreastScreen Australia, by Indigenous status, 1996–1997 to 2015–2016

42 BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2018

Box 5.1: Indigenous populations

This report uses Indigenous population estimates based on the 2011 Census, which were the most recent estimates available at the time of preparation of this report.

New Indigenous population estimates were released by the ABS in 2014 based on the 2011 Census. These estimates included backcasts of the Indigenous population, as well as population projections to 2026. The backcast estimates of the Indigenous population were considerably larger than those previously published based on the 2006 Census.

This is in part due to improvements in Census coverage and enumeration of Indigenous Australians in the 2011 Census, and an increased likelihood that individuals identified themselves and their children as Indigenous. Historical Indigenous participation rates have been recalculated using these new Indigenous population estimates so that meaningful comparisons between reporting periods can be made over time. Rates presented in this report should not be compared with previously published rates that used population estimates based on the 2006 Census.

Results of a recent Queensland project, ‘Closing the Gap in Breast Cancer Screening’, suggest that different screening behaviour of Indigenous women may play a significant role in their lower participation rates. This project aimed to address barriers to screening for Indigenous women through culturally appropriate messages, art shows and partnerships with local Indigenous groups, in order to build trust, educate and support Indigenous women to attend BreastScreen Australia. The project reported an increase in Indigenous participation from 49% to 56% in 2 years.

Initiatives such as these are common to state and territory BreastScreen programs. These strategies and initiatives are designed to be culturally sensitive and appropriate to the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. They include dedicated and appropriate communication resources, group bookings for Indigenous women who would prefer to attend as a group, and the use of Indigenous artwork. BreastScreen workers liaise closely with Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups to increase acceptance of screening.

In the last quarter of 2014–15, the Australian Government ran the National BreastScreen Australia Campaign to support the expansion of the program to women aged 50–74. The campaign included additional communication activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers, with materials developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Access to BreastScreen services for Indigenous women is a national policy feature of BreastScreen Australia, which has developed National Accreditation Standards (NAS) Measures to ensure that this policy feature is met by services accredited through BreastScreen Australia (see Box 3.3 for more information on NAS Measures and accreditation). These NAS Measures, along with other NAS Measures related to access and participation in BreastScreen Australia, underpin BreastScreen Australia’s aim to maximise the proportion of women in the target population who are screened every 2 years. Table 3.1 shows the NAS Measures related to participation.

5.2 Breast cancer outcomes in Indigenous women

The source of national cancer incidence data in Australia is the Australian Cancer Database (ACD), which is compiled from data supplied by state and territory cancer registries. The cancer registers rely on pathology forms as their primary source of information—which do not include Indigenous status in all states and territories. However, the cancer registers collect

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2018 43

information from additional sources, such as hospital records and death records, which allows for information on Indigenous status to be collected where possible.

The level of identification of Indigenous status in the ACD for the period 2009–2013 is considered sufficient to enable analysis in 5 jurisdictions, with data from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. While the majority (89.9%) of Australian Indigenous people live in these 5 jurisdictions, the degree to which data for these jurisdictions are representative of data for all Indigenous people is unknown (ABS 2012).

Analysis of data from these jurisdictions showed that, in 2009–2013, Indigenous women aged 50–74 had a lower incidence rate of breast cancer, at 251 new cases per 100,000 women, compared with 285 new cases for non-Indigenous women (Figure 5.3)—with a similar trend for all ages (99 compared with 111 per 100,00 women).

Note: Rates age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001; ‘Total’ rate includes women with a ‘not stated’ Indigenous status and is therefore greater than the ‘Non-Indigenous’ rate.

Source: AIHW Australian Cancer Database 2014. Data for this figure are available in Table A7.8.

Figure 5.3: Incidence of breast cancer in women aged 50–74 (New South West, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory), by Indigenous status, 2009–2013

Survival

Crude survival was also calculated, and found to be lower for Indigenous women, compared with non-Indigenous women—crude survival was 73.7% for Indigenous women of all ages, compared with 84.3% for non-Indigenous women of all ages during the period 2009–2013. Similarly, crude survival was lower in Indigenous women when restricted to women aged 50–74 (75.4% compared with 89.0% for non-Indigenous women).

Mortality

The source of mortality data is the AIHW National Mortality Database, in which information on Indigenous status is considered to be adequate for reporting for 5 jurisdictions: New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In 2011–2015, the mortality rate from breast cancer was higher in Indigenous women aged 50–74, at 55 deaths per 100,000 women, compared with 46 deaths for non-Indigenous women (Figure 5.4). While participation in BreastScreen Australia has a direct effect on the incidence of breast cancer, additional factors come into play for mortality from breast cancer, such as the stage of cancer at diagnosis, and access to treatment.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Cancer Policies , Strategies and Future directions : Latest @HealthInfoNet review shows many cancers are preventable among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

‘The review shows that cultural safety in service provision, increased participation in breast, bowel and cervical screening and reduction in risk factors will improve outcomes for cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The good news is that many cancers are considered to be preventable. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, followed by breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer.

Tobacco smoking is still seen as the greatest risk factor for cancer’.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew

Read over 75 Aboriginal Health and Cancer articles published by NACCHO last 6 years

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services are located in all jurisdictions and are funded by the federal,state and territory governments and other sources [91].

They are planned and governed by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Torres
Strait Islander communities and aim to deliver holistic and culturally appropriate health and health-related services.

Services vary in the primary health care activities they offer. Possible activities include: diagnosis and treatment of illness or disease; management of chronic illness; transportation to medical appointments; outreach clinic services; immunisations; dental services; and dialysis services.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer support groups have been identified as important for improving cancer awareness and increasing participation in cancer screening services [92].

Aboriginal women attending these support groups have reported an increased
understanding of screening and reported less fear and concern over cultural appropriateness, with increases in screening rates [19].

Support groups have also been found to help in follow up and ongoing care for cancer survivors [19, 93], particularly where they are shaped to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [73, 94].”

See Page 12 of Review

Download Review+of+cancer+among+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+people

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (HealthInfoNet) at Edith Cowan University has published a new Review of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review, written by University of Western Australia staff (Margaret Haigh, Sandra Thompson and Emma Taylor), in conjunction with HealthInfoNet staff (Jane Burns, Christine Potter, Michelle Elwell, Mikayla Hollows, Juliette Mundy), provides general information on factors that contribute to cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It provides detailed information on the extent of cancer including incidence, prevalence and survival, mortality, burden of disease and health service utilisation.

This review discusses the issues of prevention and management of cancer, and provides information on relevant programs, services, policies and strategies that address cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review provides:

  • general information on factors (historical/protective/risk) that contribute to cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • detailed information on the extent of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including: incidence, prevalence and survival data; mortality and burden of disease and health service utilisation
  • a discussion of the issues of prevention and management of cancer
  • information on relevant programs, services, policies and strategies that address cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • a conclusion on the possible future directions for combating cancer in Australia

Selected Extracts

Policies and strategies

There are very few national policies and strategies that focus specifically on cancer in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework is therefore significant as the first national approach to addressing the gap in cancer outcomes that currently exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the non-Indigenous population [132]. However, over the past 30 years, there have been a number of relevant strategies and frameworks developed addressing cancer in the general population, and broader aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. A selection of national policy developments relevant to addressing cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are described briefly below.

Selected national policy developments relevant to addressing cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

2018 Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia is released
2016 National Framework for Gynaecological Cancer Control is released
2015 First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework is released
2015 Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is released
2014 Second Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2014–2019 is published
2013 First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 is published
2011 First Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2011–2014 is published
2008 National Cancer Data Strategy for Australia is released
2003 Report Optimising Cancer Care in Australia is published
1998 First National health priority areas cancer control report is published
1996 Cancer becomes one of four National health priority areas (NHPA)
1988 Health for all Australians report is released
1987 First National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia is published

 

It was not until the late 1980s that national cancer control strategies and policies began to be developed [133]. In 1987, the first National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia, was published by the Australian Cancer Society (ACS) (now the Cancer Council Australia) based on a series of expert workshops [134].

It outlined what prevention activities were currently being undertaken, what should be undertaken and suggested a number of goals, targets and strategies in the areas of cancer prevention and early detection and screening. This policy has been updated many times over the years [133] and is still in publication as the National cancer control policy [135].

The following year, in 1988, the Health for all Australians report, commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory council (AHMAC), recognised that cancers could be influenced by primary or secondary prevention strategies [136]. The report recommended nine goals and 15 targets related to cancers, based on those put forward by the National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia. Cancer prevention and strategies relating to breast, cervical and skin cancer and tobacco smoking were recommended as initial priorities under the National Program for Better Health. These were then endorsed at the Australian Health Ministers Conference and funding was provided.

In 1996, cancer control was identified as one of four National health priority areas (NHPA). This led, the following year, to the publication of the First report on national health priority areas 1996, which outlined 26 indicators spanning the continuum of cancer care, and included outcome indicators, indicators relating to patient satisfaction and the creation of hospital based cancer registries [137].

In 1998, the first NHPA cancer control report was produced [138]. It identified a number of opportunities for improvements in cancer control, including within ‘special populations such as Indigenous people’ [138].

In 2003, the report Optimising cancer care in Australia was jointly developed by The Cancer Council Australia, the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) and the National Cancer Control Initiative (NCCI), with strong consumer input [139]. This report made 12 key recommendations, including that the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be the focus of efforts to bridge gaps in access to and utilisation of culturally sensitive cancer services.

In 2008, the National Cancer Data Strategy for Australia aimed to provide direction for collaborative efforts to increase data availability, consistency and quality [140]. It reported that although Indigenous status is recorded by cancer registries, data quality is poor, and recommended that the quality of Indigenous markers in hospital and death statistics collections needs to improve if cancer registries are to have better data.

In 2011, Cancer Australia published the first Cancer Australia strategic plan 2011–2014, which aimed to identify future trends in national cancer control and to outline strategies for the organisation to improve outcomes for all Australians diagnosed with cancer [141]. It was followed in 2014, by the Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2014–2019, which had an increased focus on improving quality of cancer care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [142].

In 2013, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (the Health plan) was developed to provide a long-term, evidence-based policy framework approach to closing the gap in disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [143].

The Health plan emphasises the importance of culture in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rights of individuals to a safe, healthy and empowered life. Its vision is for the Australian health system to be free of racism and inequity and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have access to health services that are effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable. This led to the publication of the Implementation plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 in 2015 [90], which outlines the strategies, actions and deliverables required for the Australian Government and other key stakeholders to implement the Health plan.

The first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework (the Framework­) was released in 2015, to address disparities and improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [56]. It provides strategic direction by setting out seven priority areas for action and suggests enablers that may help in planning or reviewing strategies to address each of the priority areas. The Framework aims to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by ensuring timely access to good quality and appropriate cancer related services across the cancer continuum.

In 2016, Cancer Australia released the National Framework for Gynaecological Cancer Control to guide future directions in national gynaecological cancer control to improve outcomes for women affected, as well as their families and carers [144]. It aims to ensure the provision of best practice and culturally appropriate care to women across Australia by offering strategies across six priority areas, of which one pertains specifically to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

In 2018, Cancer Australia released the Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia [145]. It aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of people affected by lung cancer by supporting the uptake of five principles: patient-centred care; multidisciplinary care; timely access to evidence-based care; coordination, communication and continuity of care and data-driven improvements.

Future directions

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework (the Framework­) provides guidance for individuals, communities, organisations and governments [56]. The Framework was developed in partnership with Menzies School of Health Research, and was informed by a systematic review of the evidence and extensive national consultations. The parties involved in these consultations included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer, health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and experts in Indigenous cancer control. The Framework outlined seven evidence-based priority areas for action as follows:

  • improving knowledge and attitudes about cancer
  • focusing prevention activities
  • increasing participation in screening and immunisation
  • ensuring early diagnosis
  • delivering optimal and culturally appropriate treatment and care
  • involving, informing and supporting families and carers
  • strengthening the capacity of cancer-related services to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Each of these priorities was accompanied by a number of enablers to assist in planning or reviewing strategies to address that priority. The enablers provide flexible approaches to meeting the priorities that allow for local context and needs.

The development of the Framework has been responsible for gathering national support and agreement on the priorities and for creating a high level of expectation around the ability to address the growing cancer disparity [146]. Cancer Australia has since commenced a number of projects and initiatives that focus on one or more of the priorities identified by the Framework. One project aims to identify critical success factors and effective approaches to increasing mammographic screening participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women [147]. A leadership group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer control tasked with driving a shared agenda to improve cancer outcomes has also been established [148]. In addition, the development of a monitoring and reporting plan for the Framework is underway.

Quality data are critical to understanding the variations in cancer care and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to inform policy, service provision and clinical practice initiatives to improve those outcomes. However, it has been repeatedly reported in the literature and by the Framework, that current data are inadequate or incomplete, and there is a significant need for improved local, jurisdictional and national data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [56149-151]. In particular, the need for primary healthcare services to address the under identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in data registries. A project currently underway in SA, which is likely to have relevance to other regions, aims to develop an integrated comprehensive, cancer monitoring and surveillance system for Aboriginal people, while also incorporating their experiences with cancer services [149].

Both the Framework and the literature have identified a need for a more supportive and culturally appropriate approach across the cancer care continuum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [5677151152]. The Wellbeing Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Living with Chronic Disease, (Wellbeing framework), aims to assist healthcare services to improve the quality of life and quality of care, as well as health outcomes, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic disease [153]. This addresses the identified need for more supportive and culturally appropriate care as it attempts to incorporate the social, emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing, as well as the physical aspects.

The Wellbeing framework is underpinned by two core values, which are considered fundamental to the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [153154]. These core values highlight that wellbeing is supported by:

  • upholding people’s identities in connection to culture, spirituality, families, communities and country and
  • having culturally safe primary healthcare services in place.

The Wellbeing framework consists of four essential elements for supporting the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic disease [153154]. These show the importance of having:

  • locally defined, culturally safe primary health care services
  • appropriately skilled and culturally competent health care teams
  • holistic care throughout the lifespan
  • best practice care that addresses the particular needs of a community.

The Wellbeing framework suggests a number of practical and measurable applications for applying or achieving the underlying principles of each element. It has the capacity to be adapted by primary healthcare services, in consultation with the communities they serve, to more effectively meet the chronic and cancer care needs of their communities [153154].

 

The Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control was established in 2016-17 to:

  • provide strategic advice and specialist expertise in Indigenous cancer control
  • encourage cross-sector collaboration in addressing the priorities in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework
  • share knowledge across the sector to leverage opportunities.

Concluding comments

Despite considerable improvements in cancer detection and treatment over recent decades, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with cancer generally experience poorer outcomes than non-Indigenous people for an equivalent stage of disease [2797]. This is highlighted by statistics which showed that, despite lower rates of prevalence and hospitalisation for all cancers combined for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with non-Indigenous people, between 1998 and 2015, the age-standardised mortality rate ranged from 195 to 246 per 100,000 while the rate for non-Indigenous people decreased from 194 to 164 per 100,000 [2].

Furthermore for 2007–2014, while 65% of non-Indigenous people had a chance of surviving five years after receiving a cancer diagnosis, only 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did [2].

The disparities are particularly pronounced for some specific cancers – for lung cancer the age-standardised incidence rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was twice that for non-Indigenous people, while for cervical cancer the rate was 2.5 times the rate for non-Indigenous people for 2009–2013 [2].

The factors contributing to these poorer outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are complex. They reflect a broad range of historical, social and cultural determinants and the contribution of lifestyle and other health risk factors [6], combined with lower participation in screening programs, later diagnosis, lower uptake and completion of cancer treatment, and the presence of other chronic diseases [2798155]. Addressing the various factors that contribute to the development of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important, but improvements in some of these areas, particularly in reducing lifestyle and behavioural risk factors, are likely to take some time to be reflected in better outcomes.

Current deficiencies in the prevention and management of cancer suggest there is considerable scope for better services that should lead to improvements in the short to medium term. Effective cancer prevention and management programs that are tailored to community needs and are culturally appropriate are vital for the current and future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [5657]. Providing effective cancer prevention and management also requires improved access to both high quality primary health care services and tertiary specialist services. Effective and innovative programs for the prevention and management of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do exist on an individual basis and, in some cases, the efforts made to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in screening programs, in particular, are impressive. However, a more coordinated, cohesive national approach is also required.

Reducing the impact of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a crucial aspect in ‘closing the gap’ in health outcomes. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer framework [56] may be an important first step in addressing the current disparity in cancer outcomes and raises the probability of real progress being made. Cancer Australia has recently released the Optimal Care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which recommends new approaches to cancer care and with the aim of reducing disparities and improving outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [156]. As encouraging as these developments are, substantial improvements will also depend upon the effective implementation of comprehensive strategies and policies that address the complexity of the factors underlying the disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Action beyond the health service sector that addresses the broader historical, social and cultural determinants of health are also required if real progress is to be made [6].

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Deadly Good News stories : From #NT #QLD #NSW #VIC #WA Features New Optimal Care Pathway for our mob with cancer provides principles & guidance to ensure that #cancer care is culturally safe and responsive @CancerAustralia

1.VIC : Melanie Hill Lane Aboriginal Health Worker and Cancer Survior from MDAS ACCHO Kerang has been part of developing Australia’s first Indigenous Cancer Protocol

2.1 NSW : Penrith is set to become the home of a new primary health care service that will help to address the health needs of the local Aboriginal community.

2.2 NSW: Summer Hunt now in charge at Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation #becauseofherwecan

3.1 NT : Congress Alice Springs : Blow Breathe Cough video activity in Western Arrernte

3.2 NT Danila Dilba ACCHO Deadly Choices Building up a new generation of future leaders

4.1 WA: AHCWA : Commencing the delivery of the Certificate II Family Well-being

5.1 QLD : Rapid Response Syphilis Testing at Wuchopperen Health Service

 View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 6 years

 

MORE INFO AND REGISTER FOR NACCHO AGM

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday /Friday

1.VIC : Melanie Hill Lane Aboriginal Health Worker and Cancer Survior from MDAS ACCHO Kerang has been part of developing Australia’s first Indigenous Cancer Protocol

“Melanie Hill Lane with her children (From L) Dakoda 11, Chardae 9,Taj 13 and Kai 16. Picture: Daryl Pinder.”

When Melanie Lane was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, she became part of a grim and growing statistic: the rising number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders afflicted by the disease, with a 40 per cent greater likelihood of dying from it than non-indigenous Australians.

A non-smoker and Aboriginal health worker, the mum of four was blown away by her surprise lung tumour diagnosis at the age of 37 during a scan for an unrelated complaint.

Now recovered, she says the treatment and round of surgeries that cleared her two years later — including a partial lung removal — would probably have been a vastly better experience with a new cancer protocol being launched this week by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

Download Optimal care pathway for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people with cancer

optimal-care-pathway-for-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people-with-cancer

The Australian-first “Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer” includes a detailed series of printed resources to be distributed throughout the health system aimed at practitioners and patients. It works from the principle that indigenous Australians have specific cultural needs and their outcomes will be better if these are taken into account.

Low screening rates and later-stage diagnoses are troubling hurdles, according to Jacinta Elston, pro-vice-­chancellor (indigenous) at Monash University and, like Ms Lane, a contributor to the new Cancer Australia resource.

“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are not getting the best out of the system,” said Professor Elston, a breast cancer survivor herself. “Whether it’s late presentation to healthcare services or lack of access to same-stage treatment, which could be to do with cultural appropriateness of services or people living in poverty not having the same access.

“Or Stolen Generations, where people have a lot of other things going on in life, or people living with chronic diseases; if you’re living with other diseases … then being in the right mindset to do all the right preventative things might be difficult.”

With cancer now the second- leading cause of death of indigenous Australians after cardiovascular disease, Mr Wyatt predicted the new approach could have a significant effect on attempts to close the gap on indigenous health disadvantage.

“The impacts of trauma across generations of our people, including historical events, must be acknowledged and addressed,” he said. “It is important for health services and programs to understand that the biological impact of stress and trauma can be an underlying cause of poor health.”

VIEW VIDEO

Prof Tom Calma explains how the new Optimal Care Pathway will help to ensure quality care for Indigenous Australians with cancer to improve their treatment experience & outcomes

A new, first of its kind, Optimal Care Pathway released today identifies approaches to quality care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer to improve their cancer treatment experience and outcomes.

Cancer is the third leading cause of fatal burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are, on average, 40 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians.

Healthcare that is patient-focused and that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of patients, is critical to good health care outcomes.

The Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer provides health services and health professionals across all sectors in Australia with principles and guidance to ensure that care is responsive to the needs of Indigenous people.

Cancer Australia is calling on health professionals and health services involved in the delivery of cancer care at every level to read, use, adopt and embed the Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer into their practice.

The Optimal Care Pathway is accompanied by consumer resources, which outline what patients should expect on the cancer pathway, and the care they should be offered, from tests and diagnosis, through to treatment and care after treatment, management of cancer that has spread, and end-of-life care.

Cancer Australia has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria, in collaboration with Cancer Council Victoria, to develop this first population-based Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer.

Cancer Australia gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Cancer Australia’s Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control, who provided high level expert advice and guidance throughout the development of the Optimal Care Pathway.

For more information

2.1 NSW : Penrith is set to become the home of a new primary health care service that will help to address the health needs of the local Aboriginal community.

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (WACHS) recently announced the opening of the new Penrith Aboriginal Medical Service clinic, which is set to help fill the gap in the health needs of Aboriginal locals.

WACHS’ Executive Manager of Business Services, Adam Stuart, said the clinic will deliver a comprehensive primary health care service, similar to the services offered at their Greater Western Aboriginal Health Service centre in Mt Druitt.

“We look forward to establishing a new service to really address something that is probably a gap in the health needs of the Aboriginal population in that area,” he said.

“There is a whole range of access barriers sometimes to the hospital system, so this is about a service that provides a culturally safe service for that area and that community.”

The new clinic will create six positions with a GP, nurses, Aboriginal health workers and transportation aids set to help make up the service.

Mr Stuart said these services were a recognition of the Aboriginal population’s health needs in the Nepean Blue Mountains region.

“We know that the Aboriginal population in the Nepean and western Sydney area is one of the largest numbers in the country and the demographics of that population show they are a lot younger community,” he said.

“The other thing is that we know that the disparities in health outcomes is well documented, so we want to look at a primary health care service that can assist in going some way in addressing that need.”

Mr Stuart said it was important to provide better access to care for the Aboriginal community.

“We are trying to address those access barriers and what we would consider our preventable hospital admissions that can be prevented by timely access to appropriate primary health care,” he said.

Located in Lawson Street, Penrith, the establishment of the clinic was a result of funding provided by the Department of Health and the Ministry of Health in 2017.

“We want to acknowledge the support of NSW Ministry of Health and the local health district for providing $1.5 million in capital works funding,” Mr Stuart said.

2.2 NSW: Summer Hunt now in charge at Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation #becauseofherwecan 

Above :Incoming Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation CEO Summer Hunt, chairperson Jan Etrich and outgoing CEO Barry Stewart.

COOMEALLA Health Aboriginal Corporation (CHAC) has appointed Summer Hunt as its new chief executive officer.

Ms Hunt will transition to the role after three years working as deputy CEO to Barry Stewart.

Mr Stewart and Ms Hunt were appointed in 2015 in the roles of CEO and deputy CEO respectively, and at that time implemented a three-year plan for Mr Stewart to oversee a set of key changes required to stabilise and improve the organisation. Ms Hunt undertook an intensive on-the-job training program before moving into the CEO role.

3.1 NT : Congress Alice Springs : Blow Breathe Cough video activity in Western Arrernte 

Australian Hearing and Menzies School of Health Research have collaborated to create an animated version of this classroom favourite: the Blow Breathe Cough activity in Western Arrernte . Check it out!

View Video HERE 

3.2 NT Danila Dilba ACCHO Deadly Choices Building up a new generation of future leaders

Deadly Choices ran a session on Leadership at Moulden Primary School with the grade 5s, followed by playing a traditional Indigenous game called Edor. Our Deadly Choices team recently added Moulden Primary school, meaning we can now deliver education on healthy lifestyles to school kids of all ages. Building up a new generation of future leaders.

4.1 WA: AHCWA : Commencing the delivery of the Certificate II Family Well-being

With the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia – AHCWA commencing the delivery of the Certificate II Family Well-being, AHCWA Youth Committee members have taken the opportunity to participate and develop our skills. We have found it to be very beneficial not only for our professional careers in the Health Sector, but also our personal lives 💫

For more info on the Certificate II Family Well-Being, please contact AHCWA on 9227 1631.

5.1 QLD : Rapid Response Syphilis Testing at Wuchopperen Health Service

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited  rolled out rapid, point of care testing for syphilis on Monday 13 August.

The tests are part of an $8.8 million Australian government initiative to combat the syphilis outbreak in northern Australia.

Wuchopperen CEO Dania Ahwang said she welcomed the new tests.

‘These tests will make a difference to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in northern Australia, and may even save lives.’

‘We welcome the Australian Government’s investment in this critically important public health issue.’

‘I urge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 – 39 to come in for a point of care test from Monday onwards. If you are outside that age group and have concerns, standard blood tests are always available.’

Wuchopperen Medical Director Dr Jacqueline Mein said the new tests offered a range of benefits.

‘The finger prick test takes 15 minutes to get a result compared to a standard blood test which can take a number of days to get processed,’ she explained.

‘This means that the client can get their results fast, and any follow up tests or treatment can be booked in on the spot.’

‘Point of care testing reduces the risk of the condition being passed on while clients are waiting for their results, or of not being able to get in touch with a client once the results are in.’

‘I
n the event of a positive test, it also makes it easier to find out who a client may have passed the condition on to.’

Wuchopperen has received 3000 tests, and will be offering them to all clients aged 15 – 39. The tests are available from the Manoora and Edmonton facilities from Monday 13 August.

Image: Registered Nurse Amon Nteziryayo conducting a rapid test

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #BreastCancerAwareness #getChecked : 1.Download #Indigenous Resources from @CancerAustralia and 2.NACCHO supports this Sundays #StandWithMeAtTheG #FieldOfWomen @bcnapinklady

If I hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer I wouldn’t be here today. People forget that Aboriginal women get breastcancer. We need Aboriginal women to get themselves checked because there is treatment available and it can save your life “

Aunty Pam Pedersen speaking at the Peter Maccallam Cancer Centre signing of a MOU with VACCHO August 9

Twenty years ago, breast cancer was not often talked about publicly. It was discussed in whispers, and many women spoke of a feeling of shame at diagnosis.

Women felt like a number, not an individual, and were subjected to radical surgery. They were given little information and even less support. They held little hope for a future.

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) began during this time, born out of one woman’s determination to make the breast cancer journey better.

Others soon joined her cause, and for 20 years, BCNA has worked tirelessly to ensure every Australian diagnosed with breast cancer receives the very best support, information, treatment and care.

Today, BCNA is the peak national organisation for Australians affected by breast cancer.”

#StandWithMeAtTheG this Sunday. This year, 18,235 Aussies will hear the words,‘You have breast cancer’. #FieldOfWomen brings these stats to life as women, men and children stand together on the @MCG in the shape of the @bcnapinklady.

View Video Here

Australia’s Lots to live for video on social media will start a conversation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about breast cancer and how early detection can save lives.

If you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, it is vitally important you know the normal look and feel of your breasts, the symptoms to look out for and the importance of seeing their doctor if you find a change.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Australia, including among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, yet Indigenous women are 16 per cent less likely to survive than non-Indigenous women.”

Professor Jacinta Elston ( breast cancer survivor )  Chair of the Cancer Australia Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control : She is a descendent of both the Kalkadoon people of North-West Queensland and the South Sea Islander people.

See full report below

About 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are diagnosed with cancer every day. Indigenous Australians have a slightly lower rate of cancer diagnosis but are almost 30 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians1.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians.

Our work includes:

  • raising awareness of risk factors and promoting awareness and early detection for the community
  • developing evidence-based information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer and health professionals
  • providing evidence-based cancer information and training resources to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
  • increasing understanding of best-practice health care and support, and
  • supporting research.

We have a range of resources which provide information to support you and the work you do:

 

See Key Facts Breast cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women or Part 2 Below

A new breast awareness video designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to share with family and friends on social media aims to increase early detection of breast cancer and improve survival.

Cancer Australia CEO, Dr Helen Zorbas, said the video, titled Lots to live for, had been produced to put vital knowledge about the importance of breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities.

“Finding breast cancer early, while it is still confined to the breast, significantly increases the chances of survival,” Dr Zorbas said. “Early detection of breast cancer through breast awareness and increasing participation in mammographic screening are important ways to improve survival outcomes and address the disparity in breast cancer survival between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women.”

Professor Jacinta Elston, Chair of the Cancer Australia Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control, and an Aboriginal woman from Townsville, supported the video’s message and encouraged women to share it on social media.

“Studies have shown that social media has been used effectively in getting health messages out into our community,” Professor Elston said.

See opening message

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged between 50 and 74 years are also encouraged to have a free breast screen every two years. Mammographic screening is the best early detection test for reducing deaths from breast cancer.”

Professor Elston, who is herself a breast cancer survivor, acknowledged that some Indigenous women may be reluctant to discuss a breast change, due to shame, embarrassment, fear or stigma, but that this could seriously impact on their breast cancer outcomes.

“Changes in your breast may not be due to cancer, but if you find a change that is new or unusual, it’s important to see a doctor without delay,” Professor Elston said. “We need to look after our health – for ourselves and our families.”

The Lots to live for video, which features NITV’s Marngrook Footy Show presenter Leila Gurruwiwi, is designed to be easily accessible and shareable on social media platforms widely used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Cancer Australia is committed to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Dr Zorbas said.

Visit www.canceraustralia.gov.au/atsi for more information.

Part 2 Key Facts Breast cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Key statistics

Incidence

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  • The number of breast cancer diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women increased by over 60% between the years 2004-08 and 2008-12.

Survival

  • The breast cancer survival rate was 16% lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than for non-Indigenous women between 2006-2010.

Mortality

  • Breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women after lung cancer (between 2007 and 2011).
  • In 2010-2014, there were 154 deaths from breast cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia.

Factors affecting breast cancer outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women:

  • are less likely than non-Indigenous women to have a screening mammogram
  • may choose not to visit a doctor when they notice changes in their breasts.
  • are less likely to undergo cancer treatment
  • are less likely to complete cancer treatment
  • are more likely to have 1 or more other health problems such as heart disease and/or diabetes.

As a result of these factors, breast cancer may be more advanced when diagnosed.

Key messages

Finding breast cancer early

  1. Breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
  • Finding breast cancer early means there are more treatment options and the chances of survival are greatest.
  • More than half of breast cancers are diagnosed after a woman or her doctor notices a change in the breast.
  • This shows how important it is that women are aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and are confident in reporting unusual breast changes.

How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women get to know the normal look and feel of their breasts?

  • Women of all ages, daughters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers, are encouraged to get to know the normal look and feel of their breast.
  • They don’t need to be an expert or know a special way to check their breasts. They can do this as part of everyday activities such as dressing, looking in the mirror, or showering.

Changes to look out for

There are a number of changes to look out for:

  • A new lump or lumpiness
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • A change in the nipple
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Any unusual pain
  • A change in the skin of your breast

What to do if women find a change?

While most breast changes are not due to cancer, if a woman finds a change in her breast that is new or unusual for her, it’s important to see a doctor without delay.

Screening mammograms

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged between 50 and 74 years are encouraged to attend mammographic breast screening every two years. Mammographic screening is the best early detection test for reducing deaths from breast cancer.

Where to go to have a breast screen?

BreastScreen Australia provides free breast screening for women 50-74 years and has services in all states and territories. To find out more call 13 20 50.

Lots to Live For!

Cancer Australia’s new video Lots to Live For was developed to put vital knowledge about the importance of breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities.

The Lots to Live For video, which features Marngrook Footy Show presenter Leila Gurruwiwi, is designed to be accessible and shareable on social media platforms widely used by Indigenous communities.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/canceraustralia/ or

https://twitter.com/CancerAustralia #LotsToLiveFor @CancerAustralia

For more information

Visihttp://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/atsi