Community-identified recommendations to enhance cancer survivorship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Primary Health, 2018, 24 (3), pp. 233 - 240
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© La Trobe University 2018. Indigenous Australians diagnosed with cancer experience higher mortality and lower survival rates compared to non-Indigenous Australians. Reasons are multifaceted and complex. Knowledge about Indigenous cancer survivors' perspectives of positive cancer survivorship is a gap in research evidence. The study explored cancer survivorship perspectives of Indigenous cancer survivors, their support people and healthcare workers with a view to developing recommendations for cancer survivorship. Indigenous Australians who completed cancer treatment in the previous 6 months to 5 years, their support people and primary healthcare workers were recruited from primary healthcare centres and a large tertiary Queensland hospital. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with written and informed consent obtained prior. Participants emphasised key action areas and recommendations to enhance cancer survivorship, namely: establishing a community cancer advocate and peer support program, availability and use of a cancer-specific Indigenous primary healthcare worker and hospital-based Indigenous patient navigator, as well as adoption of question prompt lists and cancer survivorship care plans. Existing research suggests significant benefits from implementing the key recommendations identified in this study. Greater support and commitment across health sectors and funding bodies is needed to promote institutional change and health system development.
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