Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project

Learn more about the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project—enhancing cancer care and cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people in NSW.

Cancer incidence and mortality rates for Aboriginal peoples in NSW are higher than those for the rest of the community. The purpose of the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project was to enhance cancer care and cancer outcomes for Aboriginal peoples in NSW. The program achieved this by:

  • building capacity
  • building confidence 
  • building knowledge.

What did the project achieve?

An evaluation of the partnership found that the program was successful in:

  • Actively engaging more than 1200 people in partnership activities. The majority of participants were Aboriginal or working with Aboriginal people.
  • Enhancing the knowledge and confidence of Aboriginal health workers and cancer service health professionals to improve access to services and support for people from Aboriginal communities.
  • Building the capacity of organisations and individuals to continue working towards improving cancer care and cancer outcomes for Aboriginal peoples.

The Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project was funded by the Ministry of Health and implemented by three project partners:

  • Cancer Institute NSW
  • Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) 
  • Cancer Council NSW

The project was funded from 2012 to 2014, with some activity extended for six months to June 2015.

The objectives of the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project were to:

  • Improve the cancer health outcomes of Aboriginal peoples in NSW by raising awareness and increasing the capacity of Aboriginal communities to respond to cancer.
  • Build the skills, knowledge and capacity of the Aboriginal health workforce in cancer care, and in turn improve the care of Aboriginal peoples with cancer.
  • Build partnerships between mainstream services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to enhance the cultural capability of health professionals working in cancer care, improve service accessibility and partnerships.
  • Reduce barriers experienced by Aboriginal peoples who need to access cancer care services.

More than 1200 people participated in ACCP activities, which included:

  • Community awareness raising workshops—17 workshops were held across NSW to raise awareness about cancer prevention, risk factors, treatment, palliative care and survivorship.
  • Community action (advocacy) workshops—two workshops were held in Sydney for Aboriginal community members – this training has helped to motivate and empower Aboriginal community members to take action around issues of concern particularly in relation to improving cancer treatment and support.
  • Health professional training modules—as part of the project a culturally appropriate cancer course for Aboriginal health professionals was reviewed and updated.
  • Clinical placements and site visits of Aboriginal health workers to local cancer services contributed to improved relationships, trust and understanding of cancer services.
  • Clinical support for health professionals—support networks have been established to build relationships between the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and local cancer services.
  • Partnerships between cancer services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services were established through the project.

Beginning the journey: Introduction to radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment

This video was made by Albury/Wodonga Health Unit in the Murrumbidgee LHD as part of the Aboriginal Cancer Partnerships Project network. This video is aimed at Aboriginal Health Workers and patients to demystify chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

To deliver the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project, the Cancer Institute NSW worked with:


Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council contact Catherine Wood

Cancer Council NSW

NSW Ministry of Health

Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation


Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health


Pius X Aboriginal Corporation


Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation


More information

Please contact Jessica Delaney, Project Manager, Relationships and Change (02) 8374 3565.