ILLAWARRA researchers will use a $90,000 NSW government grant to tackle misconceptions about cancer within Macedonian and Serbian communities.
The belief that a cancer diagnosis spells "certain death" could be a reason people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities didn't seek medical help, University of Wollongong research fellow Lyn Phillipson said.
"There are also cultural taboos around discussing cancer and blame attached to cancer diagnosis," she said.
Researchers from the university's Centre for Health Initiatives, together with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, will use the grant to try to break though barriers to reach Macedonian and Serbian communities.
"This project aims to understand attitudes and beliefs through direct engagement with Macedonian and Serbian community members and health service workers, focusing on myths, misconceptions, cancer stigma, and barriers to discussing cancer," she said.
"We want to develop culturally sensitive education resources, and conduct forums ... to address any identified myths and misconceptions."
Research suggests members of these communities have higher rates of cancer-related illness and death than Australian-born counterparts, and often don't seek treatment.