spacing1National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN)

nican banner

About NICaN

The National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) is a national network that encourages and supports collaboration around Indigenous cancer research and delivery of services to Indigenous people with cancer including their carers and families.

NICaN is about making sure that what's known about cancer in Indigenous Australians is available for use by people with cancer, their families, practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

NICaN is a network and online resource for sharing evidence-based information and resources about cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We welcome your membership, questions and contributions.

Read more

It has been set up as partnership between the Menzies School of Health Research, the DISCOVER-TT Centre of Research Excellence, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, the Lowitja Institute, Cancer Council Australia and Indigenous audiences, consumers, researchers and health professionals from a broad range of disciplines, service providers, private sector and government organisations.

NICaN membershp is free and open to all interested individuals, groups, and organisations. Members will have the opportunity to attend annual face to face network meetings via Indigenous Cancer Roundtables, participate in discussion forums through the Yarning place and be kept up to date through Twitter.

Register through the Yarning place - NICaN at the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

Read less

  • DISCOVER-TT will build an evidence base through innovative, high-quality, priority-driven, applied health services which aims to reduce disparities in treatment and survival for Indigenous Australians with Cancer. Read more
  • Click here for NICaN yarning place
  • Heard something about cancer? Not sure if it's true? Get the facts from Cancer Council. Visit
  • Click here for NICaN twitter.




DISCOVER-TT's full name is the Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to improve Cancer Outcomes Via Engagement, Research Translation and Training.

The DISCOVER-TT CRE is funded by a 5-year grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council. It is based at the Menzies School of Health Research in Brisbane, and involves a partnership of people and organisations from across Australia and beyond.

Why was DISCOVER-TT created?

There are marked disparities in cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival for Indigenous Australians compared with other Australians. The ultimate aim of DISCOVER-TT is to improve the survival and quality of life of Indigenous people with cancer, through a strategic focus on health system performance in the areas of diagnosis, treatment, and care.

How will DISCOVER-TT work?

DISCOVER-TT will build an evidence base through innovative, high-quality, priority-driven, applied health services research which aims to reduce disparities in treatment and survival for Indigenous Australians with cancer.

DISCOVER-TT is designed to be a co-ordinated, collaborative, Indigenous-led research program featuring extensive stakeholder engagement to ensure its work is relevant and applicable. The DISCOVER-TT CRE will act as a coordinating body to ensure that research activities and outputs of its partners/members are targeted to addressing: (1) the priorities of Indigenous Australians with cancer; (2) the relevant settings of diagnosis, treatment and care; and (3) the diverse contexts of Indigenous Australian life.

DISCOVER-TT brings together leading Australian researchers in Indigenous cancer control together with key policy, service and consumer stakeholders. The DISCOVER-TT umbrella provides an unparalleled opportunity for synergy through increased collaboration, coordination, and research translation, as well as through the development of future research leaders.

What research will DISCOVER-TT do?

Over the next five years (2013-2017), DISCOVER-TT's research program will focus on two key program areas: 1) Pathways and Outcomes of Care; and 2) Improving Models of Care and Service Delivery. The second program area will necessarily build on the foundations of knowledge generated in the first program area, with the balance of effort across areas shifting over the life of DISCOVER-TT. Projects expected to commence in 2012-2014 include:

  • Cervical cancer screening participation and outcomes for Australian women
  • National patterns of care study for selected cancers in Indigenous Australians
  • Effects of co-morbidities on cancer treatment and survival
  • Supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer patients across Australia
  • Health care utilisation at the end of life and palliative care needs for Indigenous cancer patients
  • Distinctive cancer care requirements of Indigenous cancer patients
  • Innovative models of care for Indigenous cancer patients
  • The role of Indigenous cancer survivors in improving cancer awareness and outcomes for Indigenous cancer patients

The results of this work will help to determine our future research directions. Importantly, we will also work closely with key stakeholders to make sure we are addressing key knowledge gaps with the potential to make a difference.

How will DISCOVER-TT build capacity?

DISCOVER-TT will build capacity in the health research workforce by training future research leaders, practitioners, and research users. Individuals will be developed at a range of levels, including post-doctoral fellows, PhD students, trainees, and other levels as appropriate. Where possible, the focus will be on developing individuals who are Indigenous.

How will DISCOVER-TT measure its performance?

DISCOVER-TT's long-term aim is to improve the survival and quality of life of Indigenous people with cancer. To achieve this, a number of short-term goals have been established. These include but are not limited to:

  • Recruitment of at least 3 post-doctoral researchers, 8 PhD students and 5 trainees over 5 years;
  • The development of policy briefings, position papers and other stakeholder information to stimulate and facilitate changes in policy and practice;
  • The development of consumer-friendly reports on the progress and implications of our research;
  • The establishment of a resource bank for evidence and tools to support improved outcomes in Indigenous cancer, for use by researchers, policy makers, service providers, practitioners and consumers;
  • Substantial and ongoing media engagement to increase consumer and practitioner awareness and understanding of the issues;
  • The development of educational programs and/or courses that arise from research findings;
  • An increase in intervention research so that the evidence base of better pathways for care of Indigenous people with cancer is expanded.

Who is involved in DISCOVER-TT?

The DISCOVER-TT team includes the following Chief Investigators and Associate Investigators:

  • A/Professor Gail Garvey, Menzies School of Health Research and Lowitja Institute Healthy Start, Healthy Life Research Program
  • Professor Joan Cunningham, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Dianne O'Connell, Cancer Council NSW
  • Dr Patricia Valery, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Sandra Thompson, University of Western Australia
  • A/Professor John Condon, Menzies School of Health Research
  • A/Professor Pam McGrath, Griffith University
  • Dr Mick Adams, Queensland University of Technology
  • A/Professor Sabe Sabeson, Townsville Hospital
  • Ms Jenny Brands, Menzies School of Health Research

Associate Investigators:

  • Professor Samar Aoun, Western Australian Centre for Cancer & Palliative Care, Curtin University.
  • A/Prof Peter Baade, Cancer Council Queensland.
  • Prof Ross Bailie, Menzies School of Health Research and Lowitja Institute Healthy Start, Healthy Life Research Program.
  • Mr Darren Barton, Consumer northwest of NSW.
  • Dr Siddhartha Baxi, Royal Darwin Hospital.
  • Dr Srinivas Kondalsamy Chennakesavan, University of Queensland.
  • Mr Alwin Chong, Program Leader, Lowitja Institute and the Aboriginal Health Council South Australia.
  • Professor Patricia Davidson, Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Raghu Gowda, Royal Adelaide Hospital.
  • Professor Jane Ingham, University of New South Wales and the Cunningham Centre for Palliative Care NSW.
  • Dr Vikki Knott, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, University of Canberra.
  • Professor Ian Olver, Cancer Council Australia.
  • Professor David Roder, Cancer Epidemiology Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia.
  • Dr Shaouli Shahid, Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, Curtin University.
  • Mr Rajah Supramaniam, Cancer Council New South Wales.
  • Prof Jane Young, University of Sydney and Cancer Institute NSW.
  • Dr. Brenda Elias, Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.
  • Dr Diana Safarti, University of Otago, New Zealand.
  • Dr Lis Ellison-Loschmann, Massey University, New Zealand.
  • Dr. Linda Burhansstipanov, Native American Cancer Research

In addition, the team will include several post-doctoral fellows, post-graduate research students, research assistants, and trainees, an Engagement and Translation Manager, an Executive Officer, and other program staff.People interested in the work of DISCOVER-TT are strongly urged to join NICaN, the National Indigenous Cancer Network.

About the artist

Coling Wightman

Colin Wightman comes from Toomelah Mission, a small Aboriginal community on the dry plains near the north western border of NSW. Toomelah is the Aboriginal word for people who move from place to place and it reflects very much the lifestyle Colin has chosen to live. Colin got into art at a young age, inspired by his younger brother; Colin states he picked up a paintbrush and has never looked back. Colin was told his dad painted too, but Colin never got to see him as he passed away when Colin was younger. Colin has been painting for over 18 years. Colin expresses he just loves to paint as it tells stories of his people the Goomeroi tribe. The Goomeroi tribe can be found in the far north west of NSW near the Queensland border. Colin states he creates Indigenous art because he loves it and because he is good at what he does and he has a lot of passion for painting. Colin tells us he paints what he sees and what he has been told by his Nan and other elders of the Goomeroi tribe. The colours in Colin's art depend on the location and what he is feeling at the time his paintings have a personal significance. Colin has been into visual arts for a long time and not only as an artist, but as a teacher at TAFE and also has created tattoo designs for parlors in Cairns.

About the artwork

Coming together artwork

This painting represents:

Coming Together

At certain times in our lives things happen that we can't control, like getting sick so we need things to make us better. In this painting you see the sun you see medicine leaves, bush fruit, fish and water and lots of colours - sometimes you need more than that you need family and friends it could be a place you like to go. I know when I used to talk to my aunty she made me feel better and I know talking to her made it better just by the way she spoke.

Contact us

147 Wharf St, Spring Hill, QLD, 4000
PO Box 10639, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Ph: (07) 3309 3420 | Fax: (07) 3832 0030
Email: |

spacing spacing