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Mammography screening event for LGBTQ communities raises awareness of early detection and regular screening.

May 20, 2014

Breast cancer. It’s not something that any of us like to think about, but for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, breast cancer screening can come with particular concerns.

It can be hard to make breast cancer screening a priority. Many LGBTQ community members do not think they need to be screened or are concerned a mammogram could be uncomfortable or upsetting.  Many are also concerned about experiencing homophobia and/or transphobia at the screening facility. For trans men and women in particular, there is a lot of different information about whether or not they are at risk for developing breast (chest) cancer, whether they should be screened and how often, and if taking hormones or having breast implants has any impact on cancer risk or screening.

“Knowing that I’m healthy, or that I don’t have cancer, or that if I do I’ve caught it early enough to be treated — that outweighs the discomfort of getting screened” said Debbie, a volunteer health ambassador with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Get Screened program. Get Screened is part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Screening Saves Lives program, which aims to increase cancer screening rates in hard to reach communities.

LGBTQ communities experience multiple risk factors for developing cancer, such as higher smoking rates, being less likely to have a family doctor and stress from discrimination. For example, the Canadian Community Health Survey found that only 49 per cent of bisexual women aged 50-59 have had a mammogram in the past two years compared to 71 per cent of heterosexual women.

“LGBTQ communities are much less likely to be regularly screened for cancer in the breast tissue, putting them at greater risk of dying from cancer,” said Susan Flynn, manager, Screening Saves Lives. “That’s why mammography screening events are important to provide supportive and LGBTQ positive spaces for screening and to raise awareness of the importance of early detection and screening for breast cancer in LGBTQ communities”.

The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that trans and non-trans women, and trans men with breast tissue, over 50 years of age, get a mammogram to screen for early signs of cancer every two years.

The Canadian Cancer Society encourages LGBTQ community members with breast tissue to register for this mammography screening event on Friday, June 6, at Women’s College Hospital. The event runs from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00pm and includes free acupuncture, massage therapy, food and prizes!

Register with Arti Mehta at 416-323-7071 or amehta@ontario.cancer.ca by May 28.

For more information on the event visit: https://www.facebook.com/LGBTQgetscreened?ref=hl#!/events/641462859241399/

 

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