Select language:  
1800 620 420
Close menu

Leukaemia Foundation strives for equity and tailored support for First Nations Australians with blood cancer

Sunday July 2, 2023

The Leukaemia Foundation is committed to gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of blood cancer on First Nations communities in order to improve health outcomes and ultimately prevent avoidable deaths.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said this year’s National NAIDOC Week (2 – 9 July 2023) presents an opportunity to pay tribute to the vibrant heritage of First Nations individuals and ensure that blood cancer support is in harmony with it.

“The Leukaemia Foundation aims to leverage its long legacy of caring for Australians affected by blood cancer to better align services for the First Nations Australians, to improve care and save more lives,” Mr Tanti said.

“Over the past 12 months, the Leukaemia Foundation has worked alongside researchers, community members, healthcare organisations, government, and First Nations people to better serve First Nations communities in order to address the tragic gaps in care.”

The Leukaemia Foundation’s recent State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report highlighted significant issues around under-diagnosis and under-reporting of blood cancers among First Nations Australians.

The Leukaemia Foundation has taken the first step to better understand the scale and impact of blood cancer within First Nations communities, investing over $730,000 in a first of its kind epidemiological research study which will assist with developing high quality, equitable, and culturally appropriate health services.

“As with other diseases, many First Nations Australians diagnosed with blood cancer experience poorer outcomes. However, the current lack of data on the scale of the problem in these communities poses major challenges in the delivery of effective care and support,” Mr Tanti said.

With guidance from the Department of Health and Aged Care and in consultation with Cancer Australia, the research study will begin soon, led by Professor Gail Garvey, a distinguished Kamilaroi woman and Professor of Indigenous Health Research at the University of Queensland. The comprehensive study will inform research priorities for addressing systemic challenges and barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with blood cancer.

The Leukaemia Foundation is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations communities to better understand their needs and tailor support services appropriately. With this in mind, the organisation is privileged to have cultural custodian and knowledge holder Matthew Doyle on board as a National Ambassador.

Mr Doyle will support the Leukaemia Foundation’s work to deliver better outcomes for First Nations people living with blood cancer and their families, including providing evidence-based policy advice and amplifying the voices of First Nations people.

The Leukaemia Foundation has also appointed Ms Heidi Bradshaw as the new Director of the Board. With over 17 years of experience of working in Aboriginal community-controlled agencies, Ms Bradshaw, a proud Wiradjuri and Yorta woman, has a deep understanding of the issues facing these communities.

Mr Tanti expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and thought leaders to help improve the support services for First Nations Australians affected by blood cancer and their loved ones.

“This is just the beginning, and more work needs to be done to ensure that no matter where a person lives in Australia, no matter their age, gender or ethnicity, they have safe and equitable access to essential treatment, information, and supportive care to not only survive their blood cancer, but to live well beyond it.”


Last updated on July 3rd, 2023

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.