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Working toward inclusion of LGBTQ+ people across the cancer care continuum

May 16, 2022

This post has been sponsored by Gilead Sciences as part of their support of the 2022 Advocacy Workshop.

Cancer prevention and early detection followed by treatment (when clinically appropriate) are core components of the cancer control continuum.1 But what happens when the systems created for education, screening and treatment are designed for people who are cisgender and heterosexual?

From education to survivorship, LGBTQ+ people who are impacted by cancer experience “othering” as they engage with oncology prevention and care services, leading to disparities in their health outcomes. When health care providers lack knowledge about LGBTQ+ health issues or do not include sexual and gender minority status as a part of whole-person cancer care, a barrier is created that can compromise care.2,3 Research shows LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately impacted by at least seven types of cancers.4 Additionally, there have been significant delays in cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.5 Screening delays, combined with the systemic gaps for LGBTQ+ people, may be further exacerbated by the current attacks on gay rights and transgender rights with the associated criminalization of LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

For organizations and leaders with a commitment to health equity and an ambition to change the trajectory of cancer outcomes, there is an urgent need to examine the systems and practices that impact LGBTQ+ health.

At Gilead Sciences, Inc. we are steadfastly committed to the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond transformative medicines, Gilead supports community-based organizations that provide culturally competent education and programs to facilitate access to care. Gilead is a leader in LGBTQ+ philanthropy. From 2014 to 2018, Gilead awarded $41.85 million to LGBTQ+ issues in the U.S., becoming the third leading domestic funder of LGBTQ+ communities and the #1 funder of LGBTQ+ communities of color.6 As part of this commitment, more than $9.2 million has been awarded to 26 community organizations through the Transcend Community Impact Fund. 

As Gilead expands into oncology, we bring our commitment to advancing the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people through supporting community-based programs that work to remove barriers to care. Together, as we examine the cancer care continuum, we aim to answer these questions: What would true inclusion of LGBTQ+ people look like? What will it take to create different health outcomes? How might different outcomes advance health equity?

Alongside partners like the Prevent Cancer Foundation, we are eager to learn from organizations grounded in LGBTQ+-led and LGBTQ+-informed programs and services. For more information about Gilead’s corporate giving program and priorities, please visit the Gilead grants website.

To the LGBTQ+ community–we stand firmly with you. Together, we imagine a future where all LGBTQ+ people impacted by cancer live longer, fuller lives.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. Gilead’s determination to transform cancer treatment builds on more than 30 years of driving innovation in the treatment of HIV, liver diseases and other life-threatening conditions. We revolutionized HIV treatment by creating the world’s first once-daily, single-tablet regimen, and later changed the course of the hepatitis C epidemic with a new generation of therapies that offered unprecedented cure rates. Today, we bring this same drive to our work in oncology.

Endnotes

  1. https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/about-dccps/about-cc/cancer-control-continuum#:~:text=The%20cancer%20control%20continuum%20has,survivorship%2C%20and%20end%20of%20life
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6553841/
  3. https://journals.lww.com/co-supportiveandpalliativecare/Abstract/2021/09000/Cancer_care_disparities_in_the_LGBT_community.6.aspx
  4. https://www.cancer.net/blog/2021-01/barriers-care-faced-lgbtq-people-with-cancer-expert-perspective
  5. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2778916
  6. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2022/4/26/ip-briefing-whats-going-on-with-philanthropy-for-lgbtq-issues

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