As a Māori or Pasifika woman undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you may like to know about support groups in which you can share and talk with other women of your culture. Many Māori and Pasifika women are diagnosed later with breast cancer and/or have more aggressive forms of the disease.
Some Māori and Pasifika women find it an unfamiliar or uncomfortable experience dealing with various health and medical professionals and asking questions. If you find it difficult to talk to your doctor or to understand what they're saying, here are some ways you can help yourself:
make a list of questions you want to ask your surgeon or oncologist. Don't be afraid to ask questions - you need to understand what is happening to you so put down everything that will help increase your knowledge
take someone to appointments with you who feels able to ask questions
find another woman who has experienced breast cancer who may be able to help you understand the disease and/or treatments
don't feel pressured to make a decision about treatment immediately. If you need time to think about your options, take this time. It is your right to do so.
Contact the Māori and Pasifika support groups listed below.
See the breast cancer information sheets from the Cancer Society NZ at this link where information is in a number of languages including te reo Māori and Samoan.
There are not that many breast cancer support groups that focus specifically on Māori and Pasifika women. Many Māori and Pasifika women gain great support from talking to and relying on whanau/family, friends and church groups. Use these resources if you can and don't be afraid to ask friends and family for help and support.
If you'd like to make contact with other women who have experienced breast cancer, check out the Māori and Pasifika groups below. You may also like to contact some of our member groups. They may well have Maori or Pasifika members who would be able to support you. One example is Breast Cancer Support (BCS) which offers peer support and information to women experiencing breast cancer. BCS has a number of support groups around the country - contact them via their website, www.breastcancersupport.org.nz to see if there is one in your area.
Support for Māori women
Te Ha o Te Oranga o Ngati Whatua
Te Ha o Te Oranga o Ngati Whatua is the health provider arm of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua. It delivers a range of health services and seeks to build strong relationships with other health providers to help achieve health gains for Māori people. For more information please email email@example.com
Aroha Mai Cancer Support Services (Rotorua)
Aroha Mai Cancer Support Services is a voluntary team which aims to support cancer patients and their whanau/families in Rotorua through a number of services. These include counselling, assistance with travel for cancer treatment, providing a "listening ear", helping patients and their whanau/family to understand cancer treatments and possible side effects, and relieving family members with care help. For more information please visit www.arohamai.maori.nz