New network to unite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the fight against cancer

Indigenous Queenslanders affected by cancer are set to benefit from a project to establish Queensland’s first Indigenous Cancer Advocacy Network.

The project will train Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to take action towards overcoming systemic barriers to accessing culturally appropriate cancer prevention, treatment, and support.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said training would be provided at three sites in Queensland and then rolled out statewide.

“The project will motivate and empower Indigenous Queenslanders to take action around issues of concern, particularly in relation to improving cancer prevention, treatment and support,” Ms Clift said.

“Importantly, it aims to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with health agencies, community organisations, and all arms of government to work together in closing the gap.

“Creating a supportive network will allow Indigenous advocates to build capacity and draw attention to cancer-related health issues, to foster positive change in their communities.

“Ultimately, the network will be empowered to encourage greater access to prevention programs, earlier diagnosis, improved treatment and culturally sensitive support services that lead to better outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer.

“Self-determination is a key plank of the project – ensuring Indigenous people have the power to drive change in their local community.”

The joint project is being delivered by the Menzies School of Health Research and Cancer Council Queensland, in partnership with Cancer Council NSW, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Cancer Voices Australia and CanSpeak.

“The establishment of the network is a significant step forward for Indigenous cancer control and will help to improve cancer outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders,” Ms Clift said.

“At the same time, the project will provide communities with practical strategies to create greater cancer awareness, including education about the lifestyle factors linked to cancer.

“Recently released figures show more than one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in a household where someone has recently gone without food, and just eight per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population meet the recommended intake of vegetables.

“At the same time, more than 40 per cent of total daily energy consumption among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is reported to be from unhealthier foods and drinks which are high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and alcohol.

“The Indigenous Cancer Advocacy Network will play a leading role in helping to improve the overall health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171