Australia is a multicultural country filled with diverse groups of people whose collective beliefs and values guide different types of thinking and behaviour. As such, cultural requirements and sensitivities are important considerations in the care of people with advanced cancer.

What do you want to know about your illness? What does your family need to know? What level of treatment is acceptable? How do you talk about death? These are some points of cultural difference that, with the right communication, can be integrated into your care.

What may help

Talk to your Doctor

Talk to your Doctor and other health care providers about customs or family traditions that they may need to consider. This may be as simple as working around prayer times, or as detailed as instructing them on how to handle a body after death.

Call on your community

You may like to enlist the help of family members, friends or others from your cultural community in ensuring your beliefs and customs are respected. If you are unwilling or unable to assert your wishes, they can step in on your behalf.

Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015