I am still trying to get people to talk about better cancer health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While cancer doesn’t discriminate the health care does. I have been involved with Menzies Institute and they are actually listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about our issues.
Prevention is important, but sometimes you just cannot do anything preventative to stop cancer. We need to be doing more to help my people when we are going on our journey through the health system and dealing with cancer. The government on both levels needs to listen to our stories and listen to what we have to say about how this journey can be easier.
As I have said before we need our people in the oncology wards in professional roles to help. We need education of our Cultural needs. We need the understanding of how our families and Community function.
We need more people to spread the word to talk in the Community about cancer and how it works and what happens through the journey. We need an organisation to help us to have funding to pass on to families to help with paying the bills, the cost of accommodation and travel for those who have come from remote and regional areas. We need that assistance also for those who live around major centres but have trouble with transport. Out in the area that I live we have the Bay Islands, so if you live on the island and are dependent on public transport you are looking at least two changes of bus, over an hour travel and if you have treatment late in the day you could miss your barge or ferry over to your home. What happens then? you are stuck and have to depend on family or friends. It’s the same in many areas although it might not be islands it could be that you are travelling from the other side of Ipswich or Redcliffe, you have a long journey and when you are doing this on public transport you just feel so much worse (if that’s at all possible,cause you usually feel like crap after treatment)
There are not enough services that can come into the home to help and as one person told me when they asked an organisation to help with their house work. She was told “Aren’t their Aboriginal organisations you can use” So this sets us apart yet again it’s almost like the bad old days of segregation. It’s a case of you won’t help us unless you get specific government funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We don’t have enough services and surely if you get funded you should help everyone?
Part of this advocacy is about getting the services for our people, showing them how to access them, knowing what services are out there. I have said before and I need to keep repeating it, have some funding to help with the bills, those everyday problems that most of my people find to be a huge hurdle. Now before you start thinking I am talking about hand outs. I am talking about the fact that we have high unemployment numbers and we have lower wages. Put this together with the medical costs and it’s a very big unspoken problem. The Close The Gap incentive is great it helps with prescription drugs, but it only helps with those on the PBS. A lot of cancer drugs are not on the PBS so they cost a fortune. We do not have the access to the clinical trials, because these usually go to those who see private specialists. We on the most do not have the money for them, and if we do well we are paying a high amount for very little medicare rebate. We tend to on general go through the public health system. We have to wait for our names to come up on the list and if you need surgery or appointments urgently, well again it boils down to the money, we just don’t have it.
We have to face cancer within our Communities, which on the whole don’t talk about cancer. Cancer is seen as a one way ticket to the coffin. Yes that’s our issue, but it’s a cultural issue that has to be slowly overcome. That is part of why I am always talking about cancer. I need my people to get out their and help each other. I need my people to look at preventative health. But I need the medical profession and the governments to look out the health outcomes. We have the lowest diagnosis rates but the highest death rates. This shows something is going wrong somewhere.
I need everyone who reads this to respond, to like, to give me their comments or their stories. I need you to help me fight this battle.