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Cancer grant to help save Aboriginal women’s lives

Posted by VACCHO Communications Team on 5 October 2018

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A new grant of close to $2million will help the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and its partners in its work to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and help save Aboriginal women’s lives.

The Victorian Cancer Agency’s Cancer Health Services Research grant of $1,991,700 over four years will fund the project called Improving the benefits of the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program for Victorian Aboriginal women.

Acting VACCHO CEO Trevor Pearce said the project was an important one as Aboriginal women are currently nearly three times more likely to develop cervical cancer and nearly four times more likely to die from the disease, compared with non-Aboriginal women.

“The focus of this research project is to improve the clinical benefits of the national cervical screening program for Aboriginal women,” Mr Pearce said. “It will also develop strategies and best practice models that increase the number of Aboriginal women who participate in screening – particularly those women who have never been screened or under screen.

“The project is built around a strong partnership with VACCHO and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations including: Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, and Mallee District Aboriginal Services, along with other health services with a high number of Aboriginal Clients, such as Co-health.

“Through this project we’ll build on a track record of successful research and evaluation initiatives  to improve self-collection for cervical cancer screening, lifestyle interventions, and chronic disease management.

“Importantly, this project has at its centre an approach that brings together Aboriginal strengths and technical expertise to co-design strategies that will improve cervical cancer control and treatment in Victoria.”

Mr Pearce said VACCHO was proud to operate in a state with such a strong history of medical research, and welcomed the cancer research funding announced by the Victorian Government. 

“More people are surviving cancer than ever before thanks to medical research advancements, which is great news, but unfortunately our people are not doing so at the same rate as the non-Aboriginal population,” he said.

“We need to change that, and projects like this will help.

“VACCHO also works with other partners to help increase survival rates for our people. We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Peter Mac to work with them to improve the cancer treatment experience for Aboriginal people to improve health outcomes.

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