Cancer Council NSW is encouraging Indigenous people to be brave and get screened this National Reconciliation Week.
In 2017/18, the estimated participation rate for Indigenous Australians aged between 50 to 74-years-old in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program was only 27.3 per cent as opposed to the 42.6 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.
Similarly, breast cancer screening rates showed the estimated participation rate for Indigenous females aged 50 to 74-years-old was 37.6 per cent in 2017/18 compared with 54 per cent of non-Indigenous women.
"Screening rates are lower in First Nation communities due to barriers such as, shame, fear and embarrassment about screening and cancer," Cancer Council NSW community lead Ricky Puata said.
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There are three National Screening Programs available to detect breast, bowel and cervical cancers.
Cancer Council NSW is partnering with Indigenous communities and peak bodies across the State to improve awareness and access to screening.
"We continue to work with local organisations to promote the importance of screening," Mr Puata said.
"We want to have a presence in the community so people know they can come to us for support and information. If you've got a bowel screening kit sitting in the drawer, received your invitation to have a mammogram, or know it's time to visit your clinic for your cervical screening, don't delay. Make your appointments, take the tests because they could save your life.
"There is no shame in looking after your health and doing the tests. If you don't fit into the screening age groups, support your family and each other to participate in these health checks."
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