Patterns of Cancer Care for Aboriginal People in NSW (APOCC)

Cancer Council NSW is investigating the cancer experiences of Aboriginal people in NSW through the Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care project (APOCC).

This project is being funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) through a Health Services Research Grant, and by the Cancer Institute NSW through a Cancer Epidemiology Linkage Grant.

Although it is well documented that cancer is the second most common cause of death for Aboriginal people, very little is known about the cancer experiences of Aboriginal people in NSW.

 aboriginal_painting

APOCC Artwork – Georgia Altona , Kamilaroi artist, (1959-2008)

Latest News from APOCC

Are Aboriginal People More Likely to be Diagnosed with Advanced Cancer?

The Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care (APOCC) team has published a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia. The findings revealed that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people are diagnosed with cancer at similar stages, with the exception of head and neck cancer, which is 240% more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage in Aboriginal people.

The paper recommended the implementation of targeted health campaigns specifically encouraging regular health checks and dental examinations so that head and neck cancers are caught earlier in Aboriginal people.

You can download this publication by clicking here

Prostate Cancer

The APOCC team published a paper on Aboriginal men with prostate cancer in the British Journal of Urology International.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Aboriginal men. APOCC has shown that Aboriginal men are 50 percent more likely to die after a prostate cancer diagnosis than non-Aboriginal men.

Findings have revealed that although the age and spread of disease at diagnosis were similar for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men, prostate cancer mortality five years after diagnosis was significantly higher for Aboriginal men.

It was also found that Aboriginal men were less likely to have surgery for their prostate cancer than non-Aboriginal men. APOCC researchers suggest that timing of diagnosis, cultural differences and reduced access to treatment may be contributing factors for Aboriginal men’s poorer prostate cancer survival compared to non-Aboriginal men.

These findings identify an urgent need for:

  • More research on the prostate cancer journey for Aboriginal men, and their access to treatment services, to better understand the poorer survival after a prostate cancer diagnosis among Aboriginal men.
  • Increased health professional and Aboriginal community awareness of prostate cancer, which could see more Aboriginal men actively seeking advice and making better informed decisions around prostate health issues.
  • Specific Aboriginal cancer information resources which could create greater community understanding of prostate health issues and see more active monitoring of prostate issues among Aboriginal men.

You can download this publication by clicking here.

Breast Cancer

The APOCC team published a paper on Aboriginal women with breast cancer in the journal BMC Cancer.

Aboriginal women were found to be 30 percent more likely to die from their breast cancer than non-Aboriginal women. At the time of diagnosis, Aboriginal women were more likely to:

  • be younger than non-Aboriginal women being diagnosed,
  • have a breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and
  • have another chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart complications.

These findings identify an urgent need to encourage actions that increases:

  1. the chance of early diagnosis of breast cancer in for NSW Aboriginal women,
  2. the prevention of other chronic diseases in for NSW Aboriginal women and
  3. the rates of surgical treatment to improve breast cancer survival for NSW Aboriginal women.

You can download this publication by clicking here.

Cancer Treatment for Aboriginal People

Findings from the APOCC & University of New South Wales Qualitative Interview Study suggest that Aboriginal people may be reluctant to undergo cancer treatment due to fear and confusion about the health system, in addition to practical barriers such as lack of transport and accommodation. This highlights the need for health services and organisations like Cancer Council NSW to work with Aboriginal communities to overcome these barriers.

 

For more information about the APOCC Study, please email us at:  apocc@nswcc.org.au

 

About The APOCC Study

APOCC Project Team

Chief Investigators

Professor Dianne O’Connell
Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW

Professor Phyllis Butow
School of Psychology, University of Sydney

Professor Bruce Armstrong
Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney

Professor Carla Treloar
National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales

Mr Anthony Dillon
School of Indigenous Health Studies, University of Sydney

Dr. Christy Newman
National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales

Mr. Rajah Supramaniam
Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW

Other Cancer Council NSW Staff on APOCC Team

Erin Dooley

Aboriginal Communications Assistant

Publications

Rodger JC,  Supramaniam R, Gibberd AJ, Smith DP, Armstrong BK, Dillon A, O’Connell DL. Prostate cancer mortality outcomes and patterns of primary treatment for Aboriginal men in New South Wales, Australia.  BJU International 2014. View accepted version of this article here 

Gibberd A, Supramaniam R, Dillon A, Armstrong BK, O’Connell DL. Are Aboriginal people more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced cancer? MJA 2015;202(4):195-9. View article here

Supramaniam R, Gibberd A, Dillon A, Goldsbury DE, O’Connell DL. Increasing rates of surgical treatment and preventing comorbidities may increase breast cancer survival for Aboriginal women. BMC Cancer 2014;14:163. View article here

Treloar C, Gray R, Brener L, Jackson C, Saunders V, Johnson P, Harris M, Butow P, Newman CE.  “I can’t do this, it’s too much”: Building social inclusion in cancer diagnosis and treatment experiences of Aboriginal people, their carers and health workers. International Journal of Public Health 2014;59(2):373-379. View article here

Treloar C, Gray R, Brener L, Jackson C, Saunders V, Johnson P, Harri, M, Butow P, & Newman C. Health literacy in relation to cancer: addressing the silence about and absence of cancer discussion among Aboriginal people, communities and health services. Health and Social Care in the Community 2013; 21(6): 655-664. View article here.

Newman CE, Gray R, Brener L, Jackson LC, Saunders V, Johnson P, Harris M, Butow P, Treloar C. One size fits all? The discursive framing of cultural difference in health professional accounts of providing cancer care to Aboriginal people. Ethnicity and Health 2013;18(4): 433-447. View article here

Newman C, Treloar C, Brener L, Ellard J, O’Connell D, Butow P, Supramaniam R, Dillon A. Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care: a five-year study in New South Wales. Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal 2008; 32(3)

 

Contact us

For further information, please contact us at apocc@nswcc.org.au or call us on 1800 1800 247 029.

View our editorial policy
SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP