Culturally diverse communities

Culturally diverse communities

For people from culturally diverse backgrounds in Australia, a cancer diagnosis can come with additional complexities, particularly when English proficiency is poor. In many languages there is not a direct translation of the word ‘cancer’, which can make communicating vital information difficult. Perceptions of cancer and related issues can differ greatly in people from culturally

diverse backgrounds and this can affect their understanding and decision making after a cancer diagnosis. In addition to different cultural beliefs, when English language is limited there is potential for miscommunication of important information and advice, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety for patients.

A professionally trained interpreter (not a family member or friend) should be made available when communicating with people with limited English proficiency. Navigation of the Australian healthcare system can pose problems for those with a non-Anglo culture, and members of the treatment teams should pay particular attention to supporting these patients.

The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre has developed a glossary of more than 700 cancer terms in nine different languages. The multilingual glossary has been designed as a resource for professional translators, interpreters and bilingual health professionals working in the cancer

field. The glossary is a unique tool that enables language professionals with access to accurate, consistent and culturally appropriate terminology.

Visit the Peter Mac website to see the glossary.