Data collection underway in ground-breaking First Nations-led cancer study

A first of its kind study exploring cancer in First Nations Australian communities has begun data collection today with the launch of the Kulay Kalingka study.

Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

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A first of its kind study exploring cancer in First Nations Australian communities has begun data collection today with the launch of the Kulay Kalingka study.

The research led by the Australian National University (ANU) will gather information about First Nations’ experiences of cancer where no data currently exists.

Launched today at Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation in Condobolin NSW, the study will fill important gaps in understanding experiences of cancer which is the fourth leading cause of burden of disease for First Nations people.

Funded by the Australian Government, through Cancer Australia, it’s the first cancer study designed, governed and controlled by First Nations Australians.

The study is being led by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research team at the ANU’s National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research. The results will also inform the implementation of the soon to be released Australian Cancer Plan.

While Australia’s cancer survival rates are among the best in the world, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher incidence and cancer mortality rates, and lower participation rates in bowel, breast, and cervical cancer population screening programs.

The collection of up to 3,000 stories told by First Nations people as part of this study will provide the evidence needed to inform the Government’s policies, programs and services to improve cancer outcomes.

The Albanese Government is committed to delivering a better future for First Nations Australians and recently announced a major investment of $238.5 million to improve cancer outcomes, and provide culturally safe care for First Nations people.

Quotes attributable to Senator McCarthy:

“The Australian Government welcomes the next stage of the Kulay Kalingka cancer study as an important addition in our efforts address cancer control for all Australians.

“Improving the health of First Nations people and Closing the Gap is a national priority, including understanding and improving cancer outcomes in the cities, towns and the bush.

“For the first time, across Australia, First Nations people will be asked about their cancer beliefs and attitudes, experiences, engagement with cancer screening programs, cancer treatment, cancer diagnosis, and caring responsibilities.”

Quotes attributable to Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO, Cancer Australia

“Achieving equity in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is the most significant ambition of the soon to be released Australian Cancer Plan. The Plan emphasises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ leadership and co-design in policies, programs, and services.

“It is essential that data about attitudes, beliefs and experiences of cancer be developed by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”



Quotes attributable to Professor Ray Lovett, National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research, ANU

“The Kulay Kalingka cancer study arose from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community needs, to better understand cancer attitudes, beliefs and experiences and from calls for the inclusion of First Nations patients, families and communities in cancer research.

“The study has been designed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community over two years. Community partners have raised access to appropriate information and screening along with culturally appropriate treatment as important to achieving health equity.”

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