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The Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project

Cancer incidence and mortality rates for Aboriginal people in NSW are higher than those for the rest of the community. The Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Program aimed to enhance cancer care and cancer outcomes of Aboriginal people in NSW by building capacity, confidence and knowledge across the cancer care continuum.

An evaluation of the partnership found that the program was successful in:

  • Actively engaging more than 1200 people in partnership activities. The majority of participants were Aboriginal or working with Aboriginal people.
  • Enhancing the knowledge and confidence of Aboriginal health workers and cancer service health professionals to improve access to services and support for people from Aboriginal communities.
  • Building the capacity of organisations and individuals to continue working towards improving cancer care and cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal Cancer partnership Project was funded by the Ministry of Health and implemented by three project partners—the Cancer Institute NSW, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) and the Cancer Council NSW. The project was funded from 2012 to 2014, with some activity extended for six months to June 2015.

The objectives of the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project were to:

  • Improve the cancer health outcomes of Aboriginal people in NSW by raising awareness and increasing the capacity of Aboriginal communities to respond to cancer.
  • Build the skills, knowledge and capacity of the Aboriginal health workforce in cancer care, and in turn improve the care of Aboriginal people with cancer.
  • Build partnerships between mainstream services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to enhance the cultural capability of health professionals working in cancer care, improve service accessibility and partnerships.
  • Reduce barriers experienced by Aboriginal people who need to access cancer care services.

More than 1200 people participated in ACCP activities, which included:

  • Community awareness raising workshops—17 workshops were held across NSW to raise awareness about cancer prevention, risk factors, treatment, palliative care and survivorship
  • Community action (advocacy) workshops—2 workshops were held in Sydney for Aboriginal community members – this training has helped to motivate and empower Aboriginal community members to take action around issues of concern particularly in relation to improving cancer treatment and support
  • Health professional training modules—as part of the project a culturally appropriate cancer course for Aboriginal Health Professionals was reviewed and updated.
  • Clinical placements and site visits of Aboriginal Health Workers to local cancer services contributed to improved relationships, trust and understanding of cancer services.
  • Clinical support for health professionals—support networks have been established to build relationships between the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and local cancer services.
  • Partnerships between cancer services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services were established through the project.

Beginning the Journey: Introduction to Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy Treatment

This video was made by Albury/Wodonga Health Unit in the Murrumbidgee LHD as part of the Aboriginal Cancer Partnerships Project network. This video is aimed at Aboriginal Health Workers and patients to demystify chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Some of the stakeholders the Cancer Institute NSW worked with to deliver the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project include:

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Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council contact Catherine Wood

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Cancer Council NSW
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NSW Ministry of Health

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Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

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Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative

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Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health

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Pius X Aboriginal Corporation


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Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

More information

Please contact Jessica Delaney, Project Manager, Relationships and Change (02) 8374 3565.