Aboriginal patterns of cancer care

The aims of the Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care (APOCC) study were to assess whether or not Aboriginal people are diagnosed with cancer at later stages than non-Aboriginal people and, if so, to describe both the barriers to early diagnosis and access to cancer care experienced by Aboriginal people and the care that Aboriginal people with cancer are currently receiving; and to compare the level and type of care they receive with that received by non-Aboriginal people.

This research is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council on a Health Services Grant and administered by The Cancer Council New South Wales. This research consists of four phases. CSRH is responsible for the qualitative arm of the research, which entails conducting in-depth interviews with 50 Aboriginal people with cancer, 30 carers of Aboriginal people with cancer and 30 health care workers who work with Aboriginal people with cancer. The qualitative arm aims to explore and understand Aboriginal people’s cancer journey using culturally appropriate qualitative research tools. The other three phases of the study are: i) a description of patterns of cancer treatment given to Aboriginal in-patients, using linked data from the New South Wales Central Cancer Registry and the Inpatient Statistics Collection of records of hospital admissions in New South Wales; ii) validation and expansion of the data from the analysis of the in-patient statistics by means of abstraction of treatment information from medical records at Aboriginal medical services; and iii) population-based studies of the patterns of care and pathways to diagnosis for Aboriginal people with cancer.

For more information on the entire APOCC project, please go to the Cancer Council NSW website https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/aboriginalcancer/research-information-findings/apocc-project/.

Funding Agency

NHMRC Health Services Research Program Grant

Non-Staff Involved

Priscilla Johnson, APRC; Veronica Saunders, Cancer Council NSW

Partners / Collaborators

Cancer Council NSW

The University of Sydney

Journal articles

Treloar, C., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Newman, C. E. (2013). “I can’t do this, it's too much”: Building social inclusion in cancer diagnosis and treatment experiences of Aboriginal people, their carers and health workers. International Journal of Public Health. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00038-013-0466-1

Treloar, C., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Newman, C. E. (2013). Health literacy in relation to cancer: addressing the silence about and absence of cancer discussion among Aboriginal people, communities and health services. Health and Social Care in the Community, 21(6), 655-664. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12054

Newman, C. E., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, L. C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Treloar, C. (2013). One size fits all? The discursive framing of cultural difference in health professional accounts of providing cancer care to Aboriginal people. Ethnicity and Health, 18(4), 433-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13557858.2012.754408


Newman, C., Treloar, C., Brener, L., Ellard, J., O’Connell, D., Butow, P., Supramaniam, R., & Dillon, A. (2008). Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care: a five-year study in New South Wales. Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal, 32(3), May/June: 6-7.

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