They prefer to be cared for by family in their community with access to traditional medicines and not confined by 'whiteman' methods and medicines in city hospitals, according to the author Dr Deborah Prior.
Dr Prior, an academic from The University of Queensland, has finished her PhD study: Cultural Strength and social needs of Aboriginal women with cancer: Take away the cancer but leave me whole, through UQ's School of Population Health.
She spent three months living at two remote Queensland Aboriginal communities for her research.
She talked with women of all ages, many of whom had personal experience of the disease, and also interviewed Aboriginal health workers and community leaders.
"Being at home with the community was far more important than what could be offered in the health system for cancer," Dr Prior said.
"It's not to say the Aboriginal women didn't want to have treatment, but they were reluctant because it separated them from their communities.
"Aboriginal women perceived cancer as a fatal disease whereas in Western society if you get a diagnosis of cancer early enough, we're all fairly optimistic about treatment."
She said Aboriginal Women felt cancer was like colonisation because the disease would control them and the whiteman's hospital system compromised their cultural needs.
Aboriginal families and groups, not individuals, decide about cancer care.
"They've got this natural family and social network that is there to help them. I think that's really quite special."
She said hospitals should offer culturally appropriate healthcare which was more than displaying cultural artefacts or images such as having family rooms to ke
Contact: Miguel Holland