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Last months inaugural Musgrave Park Cancer Walk held in South Brisbane has been labelled a huge success, with over 200 people walking to raise cancer awareness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The walk, which was held on 2 February 2014, brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians to talk about cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, treatment and care options, the importance of early detection and need for regular cancer check-ups.
The Musgrave Park Cancer Walk was held to dismiss myths surrounding cancer as a precursor to World Cancer Day which was held on 4 February and fittingly, the World Cancer Day theme was 'de-bunk the myths about cancer'.
Senior Menzies cancer researcher, Associate Professor Gail Garvey, said the strong show of public support demonstrated that key messages around cancer awareness and the need for open discussion were getting through.
'Until recently, cancer has been something we didn’t talk about, despite the disease being the second leading cause of death among Indigenous people and accounting for a greater number of deaths each year than diabetes and kidney disease,' Assoc Prof Garvey said.
Assoc. Prof Garvey reiterated the importance of good nutrition and lifestyle choices as being critical in the fight against cancer.
'We all have to eat well, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, do lots of exercise, try and give up the smokes is one of the best ways to prevent cancer,' she said. 'But if you feel something's not right, if you feel a bit of a lump or you’re coughing up some blood, go and see your Aboriginal medical service, go and talk to your GP, or go and have a conversation with a health worker about what to do next.'
The walk was a joint initiative between the National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN), Menzies School of Health Research, the Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service, Brisbane Ltd, Musgrave Park Family Fun Day, Cancer Council Queensland, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council.
NICaN is one of the main organisers of this event and it was established by the Menzies School of Health Research, Cancer Council Australia, the Lowitja Institute and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
NICaN plays a major role in sharing information about cancer with researchers, communities, organisations and the families of those affected by cancer.
The second Musgrave Park Cancer Walk will be held on 1 February 2015 in the lead-up to World Cancer Day, 4 February 2015.