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New resource for Indigenous women to cope with breast cancer

29 Oct 2013

A new, illustrated booklet designed to inform and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women through the breast cancer journey was launched today by the federal Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton.

Attending Cancer Australia's Pink Ribbon Breakfast this morning in Sydney, Mr Dutton said the booklet had been developed in conjunction with Indigenous women and health experts and would be widely distributed throughout Australia to help women and their families better cope with breast cancer.

"The booklet is entitled My Breast Cancer Journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Every woman who has been affected by breast cancer knows that detection is just the beginning of a long process - a long journey - of treatments and hopefully onto recovery," Mr Dutton said.

"The journey, so beautifully illustrated in this culturally appropriate booklet, covers diagnosis, types of treatment, how treatment can make you feel, going away for treatment and follow-up care.

"All women with breast cancer face the significant challenge of treatment but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have the added burden of often struggling to navigate these complex breast cancer pathways, and as a result, are less likely to receive and complete treatment.

"That is why this booklet is a really valuable resource for Indigenous women. It has the input of Indigenous women themselves, having been focus tested by Aboriginal women with breast cancer and their families in workshops held in Dubbo, Melbourne and Darwin."

Mr Dutton said breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and survival is significantly lower in Indigenous women than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

"Between 2006-2010, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women had lower five year crude survival for breast cancer than non-Indigenous women (69 per cent and 83 per cent respectively).

"It is for this reason that the federal government has funded Cancer Australia to develop this guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to provide information and advice about the breast cancer journey."

Access the full media release.

Find out more

Improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a critical component of Closing the Gap.

Access an online version of the My Breast Cancer Journey booklet  for Indigenous women at the Cancer Australia website.