Trusting hospitals and doctors

Many of our mob have good experiences during treatment and say their medical team, clinics and hospitals treat them with respect. But for some of our mob, past bad experiences and stories about racism can make us worry about how we are going to be treated in the health system. This is a normal feeling for many of our mob but there are lots of things we can do and there are great people along the way ready to help.

On the cancer journey we need a lot of help. Expert help and support from both people and systems. We need to feel safe and respected at all times. 

Mob who have had cancer treatment say that it is important to build relationships with people within the health care system who make you feel safe and respected. Cancer treatment requires us to put our trust in the people who are caring for us. 

Here are some tips from mob:

  • Yarn with Elders and mob working in the health care system before starting treatment.
  • Yarn with your doctor about any worries and questions. 
  • Ask to have a yarn with the  hospital Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander liaison officer.
  • Ask to yarn with a Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health care staff member.
  • Seek help from a counsellor if there is something from a past experience that may trigger anxiety or fear.
  • Ask for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health care staff member to attend appointments with you and introduce you to people they trust.
  • Start your appointments by yarning with the doctors and nurses about things that make your feel safe and respected.
  • Yarn with your medical team about any cultural protocols and practices you want to uphold during treatment.
  • See Ways to get help and support. If you are not being treated right, take someone with you to appointments – they can support you, ask questions for you and take notes. 
  • Create your own health team that includes medical staff, family, friends and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff. We need people who keep our mind, body and spirit strong.
  • Ask if there is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cancer support group you can join.
  • Build up your support at home and surround yourself with people you can yarn with and lean on when you’re not feeling strong.