The aims of the Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care (APOCC) study were to assess whether or not Aboriginal people are diagnosed with cancer at later stages than non-Aboriginal people and, if so, to describe both the barriers to early diagnosis and access to cancer care experienced by Aboriginal people and the care that Aboriginal people with cancer are currently receiving; and to compare the level and type of care they receive with that received by non-Aboriginal people.

The research consisted of four phases. CSRH was responsible for the qualitative arm of the research, which entailed conducting in-depth interviews with 50 Aboriginal people with cancer, 30 carers of Aboriginal people with cancer and 30 health care workers who work with Aboriginal people with cancer. The qualitative arm aimed to explore and understand Aboriginal people’s cancer journey using culturally appropriate qualitative research tools.

The other three phases of the study were:

  1.  A description of patterns of cancer treatment given to Aboriginal in-patients, using linked data from the NSW Central Cancer Registry and the Inpatient Statistics Collection of records of hospital admissions in NSW.
  2. Validation and expansion of the data from the analysis of the in-patient statistics using abstraction of treatment information from medical records at Aboriginal medical services. 
  3. Population-based studies of the patterns of care and pathways to diagnosis for Aboriginal people with cancer.

For more information on the entire APOCC project, please visit the Cancer Council NSW website.

Research Centre

Centre for Social Research in Health

Research Area

Chronic Health Conditions

Treloar, C., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Newman, C. E. (2013). “I can’t do this, it's too much”: Building social inclusion in cancer diagnosis and treatment experiences of Aboriginal people, their carers and health workers. International Journal of Public Health. Advance online publication.

Treloar, C., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Newman, C. E. (2013). Health literacy in relation to cancer: addressing the silence about and absence of cancer discussion among Aboriginal people, communities and health services. Health and Social Care in the Community, 21(6), 655-664.

Newman, C. E., Gray, R., Brener, L., Jackson, L. C., Saunders, V., Johnson, P., Harris, M., Butow, P., & Treloar, C. (2013). One size fits all? The discursive framing of cultural difference in health professional accounts of providing cancer care to Aboriginal people. Ethnicity and Health, 18(4), 433-447.

Newman, C., Treloar, C., Brener, L., Ellard, J., O’Connell, D., Butow, P., Supramaniam, R., & Dillon, A. (2008). Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care: a five-year study in New South Wales. Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal, 32(3), May/June: 6-7.

NHMRC Health Services Research Program Grant

Priscilla Johnson, APRC

Veronica Saunders, Cancer Council NSW

Related people

Professor and Associate Dean (Engagement and Impact) Christy Newman
Professor and Associate Dean (Engagement and Impact)