Discovering the reasons for inequity in cancer outcomes between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Australia.

Member of the month: Dr Gabriel Gabriel

By Linda Music

A plethora of research exists that shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia have poorer cancer survival outcomes than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Seeking to uncover the reasons why these rates differ so markedly is the aim of Dr Gabriel Gabriel’s project which was awarded a CONCERT Grant earlier this year.

The project, titled “Cancer Care in Aboriginal people: an assessment of radiation therapy and surgical utilization and outcomes across NSW comparing Aboriginal people with non-Aboriginal people” aims to, not only uncover the reasons for the different outcome rates, but also work towards the identification of solutions to close the gap in cancer outcomes.

“This is the first population-based study to examine rates of radiotherapy and surgery in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cancer patients in NSW, and to compare these rates to optimal utilisation rates using decision tree models developed by CCORE staff for the top 27 tumour sites,” explains Dr Gabriel.

“The findings of this project will add to the breadth of knowledge on inequity of access to cancer care and then help improve cancer outcomes at a national and international level especially in a patient cohort where such poor outcomes exist.”

Project Lead, Dr Gabriel, is well suited to lead this study. A senior lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine UNSW. Dr Gabriel also works at the Collaboration of Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CCORE) and Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. With his extensive experience in cancer research he has a special interest in quantifying the effect of travel distance on radiotherapy utilisation.

Dr Gabriel has published his work both nationally and internationally and the outcomes of this project will be published in peer-review journals as well as presented at local, national and international conferences.