Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Australia, yet if found early 90% of bowel cancers can be treated successfully. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) is low in comparison to the non-Indigenous population.
The lower uptake of screening by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may contribute to bowel cancer being diagnosed at more advanced stages when treatment is less likely to be successful. According to data from the AIHW, only 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 to 74 take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – less than half the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Victorian Aboriginal women.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to develop cervical cancer and are more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Although there is limited data on the cervical screening participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, studies suggest overall participation in cervical screening is 18% lower for Indigenous women than for non-Indigenous women. It is likely that the higher incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer amongst Aboriginal women is linked to under-screening and late detection of pre-cancerous lesions and HPV.