Federal grant supports new multicultural cancer care program for women

15 July 2021

Researchers at Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute have been awarded Government funding to develop a supportive cancer care program tailored to meet the needs of Vietnamese, Arabic and Chinese women living with cancer across Sydney and the Greater Western Sydney region.

The Supporting people with cancer Grant initiative, from Cancer Australia,(opens in a new window) funds evidence-based initiatives to reduce the impact of cancer and better support people affected by cancer.

Thanks to the $118,823 grant, senior research fellow, Dr Suzanne Grant, will lead the three-year project aiming to reduce the burden of cancer in a population with unmet needs; while also addressing side-effects of treatment, and promoting healthy lifestyle and self-management as women exit the hospital and transition to community-based care.

“In our past research, women with cancer from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds voiced their difficulty in finding information and accessing services that they need to keep themselves healthy during and after cancer treatment,” said Dr Grant.

Cancer survivors frequently face physical, psychological and financial challenges as a result of cancer and its treatment, which may prevent or delay return to work and other life roles.

Dr Grant says these outcomes are compounded for culturally diverse women, as information and supportive care are usually directed at women who are Caucasian and English speaking.

“Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds express substantial unmet supportive care needs, reflecting a marked lack of attention to the inclusion of minorities in current cancer survivorship initiatives,” said Dr Grant.

“For example, in many of these diverse groups, physical activity for women may not be encouraged, and cultural and religious norms may act as barriers impacting accessibility to supportive care including participation in physical activity.

“This funding and project allows us to co-design services with women and the community so that we can improve access to services and provide care that is tailored for them,” she said.

The project is a collaboration between Western Sydney University; Chris O Brien Lifehouse; Cancer Institute NSW; University of Wollongong; University of Sydney; CanRevive; Westmead Breast Cancer Initiative; and the Primary Care Collaborative Cancer Clinical Trials Group.

To learn more about the project, Supporting the transition from hospital cancer treatment to wellness for women from Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic backgrounds: a tailored stepped supportive care program, contact Dr Suzanne Grant at s.grant@westernsydney.edu.au