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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Beliefs curse Aboriginal survival rate

Date posted: 12 July 2011

Aboriginal people with cancer are missing out on life-saving treatment because some see it as a curse that western medicine cannot treat, a new study shows. The report called A whispered sort of stuff is based on detailed interviews with Aboriginal cancer patients and gives a unique insight into their needs. It found treatment needed to be explained clearly and patients needed to be reassured by stories of people who had survived. Doctors and other staff also needed to be more sensitive to Aboriginal needs. It suggested hospitals could offer a 'welcome to country' and more kangaroo meat in their meals. The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Cancer Council of WA.


Last updated: 12 July 2011
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