Identifying Critical Success Factors for Mammographic Screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Prof Margaret Kelaher
People from low socio-economic communities continue to experience systematic and significant disparities in health outcomes compared with the rest of the population. They tend to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage, have lower survival outcomes and higher mortality rates.
Consistent with the ongoing legacy of colonisation, dispossession, and social disruption, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a range of socioeconomic and health disadvantages compared with other Australians (Cunningham, Rumbold, Zhang, & Condon, 2008). Until recently, cancer was not regarded as an important health issue for Indigenous Australians as other health problems have had greater focus (Cunningham et al., 2008). Despite this lack of focus, cancer has been a leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians as is the case for the broader population (Cunningham et al., 2008). An additional key barrier to improving participation is the limited availability of information about cancer for Indigenous people compared with other Australians more broadly, mainly as a result of the shortcomings in the quality of identification of Indigenous people in administrative data collections.
Our approach to the project will build the evidence base around what best practice to improve the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in mammography. It will do this by synthesising existing evidence and data, collecting data about the scope of programs to improve participation in mammography among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and identifying examples of successful programs to inform best practice. Successful programs will be defined both in terms of their impact on participation and how they are valued by the community.
A number of recommendations to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in mammography came out of the project:
- Build the evidence base for strategies to increase mammographic screening among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia
- Address the gaps in improving mammographic screening, the data collected and the evidence of success
- Promote best practice in improving mammographic screening among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia
Professor Margaret Kelaher
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