Cultural perspectives

There is a significant body of knowledge about the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer around beliefs about cancer, communication with health professionals, the use of bush medicine and concerns about cancer treatments ref=16348 ref=15870 ref=18872 ref=20986. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people perceive cancer as a disease that is equivalent to death ref=23781. There is no word for cancer in Aboriginal languages ref=25371. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often express that cancer isn’t a priority, it is ‘payback’ and it only happens to them. To achieve better care for patients with cancer, there is a need for patient-centred care which respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ individual circumstances and culture ref=20986. The findings from a number of studies highlight the need for:

  • training to increase health professionals’ confidence to apply culturally safe practices
  • the development of supportive care needs tools specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer, to inform appropriate supportive care
  • encouragement of patients to embrace their spiritual and cultural practices
  • creation of an open door policy at health care facilities and waiting rooms to make them more welcoming
  • employing Aboriginal Health Workers and translators in clinical settings
  • the provision of culturally appropriate health promotion literacy ref=33684 ref=34298 ref=25442 ref=23781.

References

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