The insidious hand of cancer has likely touched every single adult Australian at some point, either directly or through the diagnosis of a loved one.
It is a word that terrifies, a disease that does not discriminate.
Since the fear of cancer is something most Australians relate to, we should all be alarmed to learn that, despite our country boasting a universal health care system among the world's best, not all groups in our community share the same mortality rates.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 40 per cent more likely to die after a cancer diagnosis than non-indigenous Australians.
According to the Cancer Institute of NSW, Aboriginal Australians are three times as likely to develop liver cancer and are 3.3 times as likely to die from liver cancer as other Australians.
The figures also state that Aboriginal Australians are 1.9 times as likely to develop and die from lung cancer as other Australians; Aboriginal females are 2.5 times as likely to develop cervical cancer and 3.8 times as likely to die from the disease; and Aboriginal females diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003-2007 had a 100 per cent higher risk of dying by 2010 than other Australian females.
So not only is part of our population more likely to develop cancer, it is less likely to survive it also.
A double tragedy, and one that, thankfully, is gaining attention.
A national program by celebrated Newcastle-based surgeon Kelvin Kong is helping to launch hopes to make gains in addressing these shameful statistics.
It is hoping to do so by going to the heart of the problem, and back to basics.
Because early detection and treatment are the most important factors in giving a patient the best chance at surviving cancer, the Yarn For Life program will attempt to directly address Indigenous people's reluctance to talk about cancer and seek screening programs and treatment.
The program is run by the federal government's Cancer Australia organisation and includes pamphlets, phone lines and a video showing three indigenous cancer survivors talking about their experiences.
It aims to get people talking, before the disease advances.
A simple conversation could be all it takes to make the world of difference.
It is a conversation that will save lives.