The Cancer Institute of NSW has awarded North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) a two-year funding grant with the aim of increasing breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening participation rates for Aboriginal people.
NCPHN will also work towards reducing the burden of lung and prostate cancers for Aboriginal people.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death for Indigenous Australians after heart disease. Currently Aboriginal people are less likely to participate in cancer screening programs, are more likely than other Australians to be diagnosed when cancer is at an advanced stage of development and have a 30 per cent higher cancer mortality rate than non-Indigenous Australians (Cancer Australia 2015).
This Cancer Institute of NSW grant follows on from a successful Women’s Cancer Screening project conducted by NCPHN across the North Coast that increased cancer screening rates among women.
This new grant, in line with the NSW Cancer Plan, will see NCPHN work in partnership across a number of health communities. These are: local Aboriginal Medical Services, general practices, the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health Districts and North Coast communities.
The funding grant will enable NCPHN to set up a Quality Improvement Collaborative. A Quality Improvement Collaborative is where groups of health professionals come together to learn from and motivate each other to improve the quality and efficiency of health services.
In this Collaborative, participating Aboriginal Medical Services and general practices will work alongside supporting organisations such as the North Coast Cancer Institute and BreastScreen North Coast to increase access to and participation in cancer screening programs and identify areas of care needing to be improved.
In addition, the project aims to build health literacy among community members. Health literacy is the skills and knowledge a person needs to understand and use information to make decisions and take action around health and health care.
The Collaborative will also work to help people better manage cancer screening opportunities, through providing reminders about appointments and follow up care.