Cancer

Cancer is a term used for a variety of diseases that cause damage to the body’s cells ref=24364 ref=24363. Normally cells grow and multiply in a controlled way but cancer causes cells to grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way. If these damaged cells spread into surrounding areas or to different parts of the body, they are known as malignant. Some cancers can be treated, but the effectiveness of treatment and survival rates vary between different types of cancer and patients ref=32698.

Cancer is a problem in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Some cancers, particularly lung and other smoking-related cancers, are the cause of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths ref=31288. This is partly because high proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engage in smoking tobacco and other risk factors like risky drinking and poor nutrition ref=26088 ref=25376. Other factors that increase the likelihood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people dying from cancers are:

  • the types of cancers they develop (such as cancers of the lung and liver) are more likely to be fatal
  • their cancer may be more advanced by the time it is found (which is partly because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may visit their doctor later and/or may not participate in screening programs)
  • they often have higher rates of other conditions that affect the cancer or cancer treatment
  • they are less likely to receive optimal treatment ref=1254 ref=1752 ref=363 ref=25376.

References

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Karnta by Corinne Nampijinpa Ryan

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