The Victorian Cancer Registry have reported a decline in cancer pathology notifications between April 2020 and March 2022. This drop in notifications does not represent a decline in cancer disease burden, rather it's an indication of the impacts of COVID-19 and likely declines in health-seeking behaviours, health checks and cancer screening, potentially leading to undiagnosed cancers.
Cancer has a devastating impact on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victoria.
According to the Victorian Cancer Registry, Cancer Statistics and Trends Report 2020 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria are 71% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Aboriginal people.
Cancer Council Victoria data also indicates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria are nearly 2.5 times more likely to die from cancer than non-Aboriginal people.
The reduction in the number of people coming forward for cancer screening adds further cause for concern for VACCHO and has led to the development of the Community focused ‘Don’t Miss a Moment’ initiative.
The ‘Don’t Miss a Moment’ campaign is narrated by proud Wongutha-Yamatji man, staunch advocate, and award-winning performer, writer, and director Meyne Wyatt.
VACCHO’s acting CEO Jim O’Shea has implored the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to come forward and get screened to increase their chances of being part of the moments that matter.
“Sadly, cancer continues to prevent many members of the Community from being part of the moments that really matter like graduations, birthdays, coaching or watching the footy, and spending time with grandchildren”
“Throughout the pandemic many people were understandably reluctant to leave their homes to see a doctor. Unfortunately, this has led to a number of people missing out on potentially life-saving cancer screening and health checkups.”
“It is absolutely crucial for the community to come forward for cancer screening , as the early detection of cancer can be lifesaving.”
“I encourage the Community to get in touch with their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) and have a yarn with an Aboriginal Health Worker or GP/nurse about booking their checkup.”
“We want Community to be there for the moments that matter – and reducing the impact of cancer is vital to creating healthy and vibrant Communities.”
“This is such an important campaign – it’s another strong example of Community-led initiatives being key to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.”
For further media enquiries please email [email protected] or contact their media unit on (03) 9411 9411.
VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 32 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.
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