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Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Acknowledgement

Breast Cancer Network Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land, sea and nations and pay our respect to elders, past and present.


BCNA is committed to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and Aboriginal health organisations to support local solutions, designed and delivered to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer in their communities. Please see below for BCNA's current and upcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Think Tank at the National Summit in March 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women hold Pink Lady silhouettes at BCNA summit

In March 2017 BCNA held its first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Think Tank at the BCNA National Summit. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from all states across Australia were represented.

The aim was to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by breast cancer together to share their lived experiences as survivors and to set clear agreed actions in partnership with BCNA about how to improve survival rates and survivorship.

Priorities that emerged during this process were partnerships with national Aboriginal health organisations to develop resources and ways of improving the pathways of women through their treatment and when they return home.

The Think Tank formed the basis of BCNA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan, which you can read below. 

Prof Jacinta Elston with four summit attendees all holding Pink Lady silhouettes

BCNA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan

In 2014, Cancer Australia entered into partnership with BCNA in the Supporting Women in Rural Areas Diagnosed with Breast Cancer project. This project included a stream of funding to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy for BCNA to improve the journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer.

BCNA has consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer and a range of organisations and services that support these women in preparing this action plan. The actions are aligned with BCNA strategic directions of representing, informing, connecting and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, their families, and communities and have been developed as a result of these consultations.

Download the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan (PDF)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women share their breast cancer journey

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women share their experiences of breast cancer, and encourage you to connect, seek support and information.

 

Possum skin cloak project

Aboriginal woman and breast cancer survivor Deb wrapped in the finished possum skin cloak

Led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander breast cancer survivors, a joint initiative between Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has seen a handmade possum skin cloak now available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people going through cancer treatment at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

The cloak was made using traditional cultural techniques that have been used by communities in Victoria for centuries.

The project is part of BCNA’s program called ‘Culture is Healing’ which aims to create culturally appropriate spaces in treating hospitals, to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer to return to the facility knowing it is a culturally safe space. This in turn will increase survivorship rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer and other cancers.

BCNA’s ‘Culture is Healing’ program has been made possible through Cancer Australia funding. The possum skin cloak’s creation was funded by BCNA and via a bequest to Peter Mac.

Aboriginal women and cancer survivors hold up the completed possum skin cloak 

You can watch a video of the making of the possum skin cloak below. 

For more information

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander affected by breast cancer and are looking for more information and support, the following links may help: