Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. BreastScreen Queensland works closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health workers to ensure local services are accessible, culturally sensitive and appealing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. For example, we have increased the number of mobile services for rural and remote areas and we offer group bookings and ‘Indigenous women only’ screening days at our services.
Having a breast screen:
Not sure how to go about booking a breast screen or what happens when you have one? Follow Auntie from the time she books her appointment to having her breast screen and getting the results.
Role of the local health worker:
Local Indigenous health workers play a very important role in promoting breast cancer awareness and providing education about the benefits of breast screening and women's health. However, one of their key roles, in terms of breast screening, is to provide reassurance, practical, and emotional support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. They also help women to make their breast screen appointments, sometimes accompanying them on their breast screen visit to the time they receive their results.
The following are testimonials from health workers who support their communities in many ways and have played a major role in increasing participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in breast screening.
Sue Fatnowna, Mackay
Liela Muirson, Townsville
Maleta Nona, Torres Strait
The use of Indigenous artwork:
BreastScreen Queensland features Indigenous artwork throughout its services, including on its mobile screening fleet and on resources and reports.
Artwork by artist Jordana Angus is about encouraging women to be screened rather than ending up having to scream for help. The woman represents those we have lost to breast cancer in the past as well as those we can save in the future through screening for the early detection of breast cancer.
The painting uses the hibiscus flower to portray the breast in an indirect fashion. This symbolism is important because it makes coming for screening acceptable, rather than a shameful or clinical experience. The diverse colour palette for this painting reflects the need for the mobile service to be welcoming to all women.
Benjamin Hodges is a young north Queensland artist who has experienced firsthand the impacts of breast cancer on the family. His artwork, Mutual Nurture, is of women representing three cultures: Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and South Sea Islander. The art depicts women with their arms linked to represent support and to show a woman is not alone in her suffering.
Last reviewed 1 September 2020 Last updated 1 September 2020