Aboriginal art and storytelling combined to save lives
Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders have been encouraged to talk about cancer as a new resource dedicated to closing the survival gap is launched.
Developed by Cancer Council NSW and Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW, Aboriginal Cancer Journeys: Our stories of kinship, hope and survival, provides information on treatment and support services for Aboriginal people.
The booklet also contains the personal cancer experiences of nine Aboriginal people, whose stories are interpreted into artwork by Adam Hill, a descendent of Mid North Coast people.
"Our research shows that barriers to healthcare have resulted in Aboriginal people having a survival rate of up to three times lower for some cancers than other NSW residents," Kendra Sundquist from Cancer Council's information and support services said.
"Lots of work is being done to understand ways of removing these barriers, but we need to start by ensuring the community can access relevant information about cancer and the available support services.
"This booklet was developed with Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people and we hope that providing the community with better information will be one step closer to closing the survival gap."
Rodger Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW has experienced cancer first hand. He urges Aboriginal people affected by cancer to speak with their friends, families and communities.
"Because we knew Dad was going to pass away, we were able to talk to him about his funeral wishes and other practical things. The opportunity to get his house in order helped my father. To honour his wishes was important for us.
"One thing I learnt was how important it is to talk and to listen. Not only to your health care team but also to your family and friends. I hope the stories in this book encourage everybody to tell their own story and to hear other people's too."
Aboriginal Cancer Journeys: our stories of kinship, hope and survival is free. To order a copy, call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20, or visit www.cancercouncil.com.au
Media contact: Luke Alexander (02) 9334 1878 / 0413 886 578