Today is Close the Gap day (March 17), an opportunity to raise awareness and take action to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our pledge in 2016 is to continue working in partnership with Indigenous research organisations, health professionals, and communities to prevent cancer and improve cancer survival outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
With cancer, like many chronic diseases, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significantly higher mortality rates than non-Indigenous Australians.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death among Indigenous Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 60 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians.
Research shows between 1998 and 2012, while the cancer mortality rate for non-Indigenous Australians fell by 10 per cent, the cancer mortality rate for Indigenous Australians increased by 16 per cent.
More needs to be done to help reduce the burden of cancer in our Indigenous communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced cancer, have poorer prospects for effective treatment and survival, and are less likely to complete treatment.
All levels of government, health services, non-government organisations and the community must work together to help improve Indigenous cancer control in Australia.
Together, we can help close the gap.
If you need support or cancer-related information, please contact Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20.
Professor Jeff Dunn AO, Chief Executive Officer
Cancer Council Queensland