Reproductive Care in Indigenous and
Torres Strait Islanders Cancer Patient Studies
The objectives of this study are to understand the reproductive health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients of a reproductive age at diagnosis and into the survivorship period.
- To document barriers and disparities in accessing fertility and reproductive information that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients face.
- To define uptake and utilization of fertility preservation and reproductive advice and consultation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients.
- To document the extent of sexual dysfunction following cancer treatment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients and the medical and psychological support availability.
- To define the extent and timing of fertility related psychological distress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients before during and following cancer treatment.
- To define the type of fertility related psychosocial support that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients, parents and careers want and the benefits to patient’s equality of life and psychological well-being.
- To define the cultural views and understandings of fertility and reproductive health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients and define what differences need to be achieved in the consultation and support availability.
- To understand the health literacy of reproductive terms and understanding about the benefits of PAP Smears, HPV vaccination before and following cancer treatment.
Infertility and sexual dysfunction following cancer treatment are important factors that have a significant impact on the quality of life for cancer survivors and their partners/parents. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 cancer patients will have reproductive complications of cancer treatments and patients have an expectation that their fertility will be preserved whenever possible.
It is important for cancer and fertility clinicians to have a greater understanding of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient’s cultural diversity may influence reproductive health care access, uptake and utilization of fertility preservation and reproductive care. It is also important for clinicians to understand any differences culture has on decision making, understanding of disease and complications and how it alters the way in which disease is perceived and explained to others.
Culture has also been shown to influence cancer prevention and treatment; with ethnic minority status linked to higher communication barriers between clinicians and patients and cultural background linked to levels of cancer screening.There is therefore a need to better understand cultural nuances between ethnic groups, as these differences impact on care.
To date the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients, culture and reproductive health concerns have not been investigated. The current research seeks to address this gap in the literature.
- To assist in the delivery of consistently high standards of evidence based oncofertility and reproductive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients in cancer and fertility centres.
- To contribute to the development of oncofertility health care professional competencies for Australian staff looking after Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients.
- To contribute to recommended strategies to assess fertility and reproductive related distress at diagnosis and into survivorship and provide appropriate pathways for referral and support of patients.
- To ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients and their families receive equitable access to oncofertility and reproductive care at the time of the cancer diagnosis and into survivorship.