Cultural barriers in cancer treatment: Aboriginal communities

VJOncology (The Video Journal of Oncolgoy) has created a video about the cultural barriers in cancer treatment in regards to Aboriginal communities.

In this three minute video, Jasmine Micklem, PhD, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute talks with Roslyn Weetra, an Aboriginal Elder and cancer survivor.

Even though this video was created in South Australia, Doctor Micklem talks about these barriers as a nationwide issue. She opens with, “We found across all of the states there are disparities, particularly around mortality.” She continues that Aboriginal people are diagnosed with cancer at the same rate as other Australians, however, they have higher mortality rates.

Doctor Micklem also adds that Aboriginal people are being diagnosed at a higher rate with cancers that have a poorer prognosis.

According to the YouTube bio, Weetra believes “supportive care workers could have incorporated more of the aboriginal culture, to help patients navigate through all the possibilities of cancer treatment.” Weetra also says the main barrier for her was she couldn’t relate to the staff and suggests allowing for Aboriginal patients to liaise with an Aboriginal cancer-care worker.

Weetra voices her concern for the traditional Aboriginal people from rural and remote areas who have no support when coming into the city for treatment. “I don’t know how some of them do it,” she says. “We really need someone down here to help them.”

Throughout the video, Doctor Micklem also discusses a partnership project that was funded by a government grant known as the NHMRC Partnerships for Better Health. This grant was to allow for changes to occur in the cancer care services to include Aboriginal communities.

The YouTube bio also says, “The project discovered a multitude of issues around barriers to treatment and supportive care is one of the main factors that can make a huge difference in outcomes for people. Recorded at the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) and International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) 2016 Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer held in Adelaide, Australia.”

Cancer Advisor is looking for more content for Indigenous Australians facing cancer. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

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