Improving breast cancer outcomes for Aboriginal women: a mixed-methods study protocol

Vita Christie, MacKenzie Rice, Jocelyn Dracakis, Deb Green, Janaki Amin, Karen Littlejohn, Christopher Pyke, Debbie McCowen, Kylie Gwynne

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting Australian women, and the second highest cause of cancer death in Australian women. While the incidence of breast cancer is lower in Aboriginal women than non-Aboriginal women, the mortality rate for Aboriginal women is higher, with Aboriginal women 1.2 times more likely to die from the disease. In New South Wales, Aboriginal women are 69% more likely to die from their breast cancer than non-Aboriginal women. Co-design is a research method recognised to enhance collaboration between those doing the research and those impacted by the research; which when used with Aboriginal communities, ensures research and services are relevant, culturally competent and empowers communities as co-researchers. We report the development of a new protocol using co-design methods to improve breast cancer outcomes for Aboriginal women.

Methods and analysis: Through a Community Mapping Project in 2018, we co-designed an iterative quantitative and qualitative study consisting of five phases. In Phase 1, we will establish a governance framework. In Phase 2, we will provide information to community members regarding the modified parts of the screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up processes and invite them to partake. In Phase 3, the research team will collect data on the outcomes of the modified processes and the outcomes for the women who have and have not participated. The data shall be analysed quantitatively and thematically in Phase 4 with Aboriginal community representatives and reported back to community. Lastly, in Phase 5, we evaluate the co-design process and adapt our protocol for use in partnership with other communities.

Ethics and dissemination: This study has ethics approval of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council ref:1525/19. The findings will be published in the literature, presented at conferences and short summaries will be issued via social media.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere048003
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • adult oncology
  • breast tumours
  • health policy
  • public health
  • quality in health care


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