Self-reported health-related quality-of-life issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with experience of cancer in Australia: a review of literature

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Abstract

Background:

Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples (who comprise the indigenous people or the original inhabitants of Australia before colonization) are more likely to experience cancers with poorer prognoses, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage of disease progression, are less likely to receive adequate cancer treatment and are more likely to pass away due to cancer, compared with other Australians. Cancer and biomedical therapies for cancer often have significant, ongoing effects on patient health-related quality of life (HRQL). Therefore, consideration of HRQL for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with experience of cancer in Australia is imperative. This article examines the literature for HRQL issues self-reported by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with experience of cancer in Australia.

Methods:

A search of peer-reviewed journal articles, government reports, and other literature was undertaken using electronic databases and citation snowballing. Self-reports from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with experience of cancer were examined. HRQL issues were determined utilizing the Australian Psycho-Oncology Co-operative Research Group's definition of HRQL.

Results:

Fifty-two documents were found with original data from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who self-reported their experiences of cancer. No published reports were found that specifically examined self-reports from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people on the impact of cancer and biomedical treatment on their HRQL.

Conclusion:

Previous literature suggests that there is urgency for improved communication and cultural competency in cancer care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in Australia, with a stronger focus on meeting patient needs and improving HRQL. This review has provided insight into HRQL issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with cancer in Australia. Further work using patient-reported outcomes measures would provide greater insight into the impact of cancer and biomedical treatments on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients’ HRQL.

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