Aboriginal cancer statistics
Cancer in NSW Aboriginal communities
The Cancer Institute NSW is currently working with Aboriginal communities to develop and present Aboriginal cancer data in a way that is culturally safe and responsive to their needs and preferences.
A community-led approach to data
We have partnered with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) to build a report on cancer in Aboriginal communities that is accessible to our partners working in Aboriginal health across the NSW health system.
This is an important first step to developing a community-led, strengths-based approach to the public sharing of data on cancer in Aboriginal communities in NSW.
Aboriginal cancer data in the NSW Cancer Plan
Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities to improve cancer outcomes is a key focus of the NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027, which describes the disproportionate impact of cancer in Aboriginal communities.
Aboriginal people in NSW are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, are likely to be younger when they are diagnosed, and are more likely to die of cancer than non-Aboriginal people.
Cancer in Aboriginal people in NSW
The reason for inequities in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people are multiple and complex.
Community reports feelings of mistrust and fear towards the system stemming from the trauma of colonisation and continuing impact of past health policies. Ongoing experiences of racism and discrimination have reinforced distrust. Fear of leaving community or country for treatment and lack of capacity in culturally safe and responsive care are also major barriers for Aboriginal people to access health services.
Fear and stigma about cancer, due to a lack of understanding about the disease, can prevent Aboriginal people from participating in cancer screening or having symptoms checked.
This can lead to later diagnosis causing poorer outcomes.
Aboriginal people and communities are also often dealing with complex personal and familial issues and lower levels of health literacy, which impact their health seeking behaviours.
These barriers can also contribute to higher prevalence of certain lifestyle behaviours, such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption which can contribute towards higher cancer incidence.
The Cancer Institute NSW is committed to the strong relationships with our Aboriginal healthcare and community partners, so together we can address the impact of cancer in Aboriginal communities and work towards achieving equitable cancer outcomes.
If you’d like to view national statistics on cancer in Aboriginal communities, visit the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The Cancer Institute NSW has data on breast screening participation among Aboriginal people available from BreastScreen NSW.