Australian Indigenous Communities: Efforts to Improve Cancer Care

Allison Drosdowsky

Jacqueline Mathieson

Donna Milne

cancer care, Australia, Indigenous communities, disparities, risk factors
CJON 2019, 23(4), 443-446. DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.443-446

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Indigenous inhabitants of Australia who face many inequities regarding cancer care and outcomes. They are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous Australians and have not experienced the improvement in survival that non-Indigenous Australians have.


  • This article provides an overview of the historic, cultural, and health systems factors that influence the disparity in outcomes, including the ongoing effects of colonialism, and the gap between current provision of health care in Australia and the cultural beliefs and cancer understanding of Indigenous people.
  • The efforts of the Australian government, Indigenous groups, and healthcare services to improve cancer care and outcomes are discussed, including promoting appropriate and accessible healthcare services and targeting known risk factors.
  • Health systems can contribute to the improvement of health outcomes of Indigenous people with cancer by providing culturally appropriate care, ensuring the health service environment is safe and welcoming, and addressing low numbers of Indigenous staff members in health fields such as nursing and medicine.
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