Published on June 2, 2022
Hi everyone. I’m Cheryl Greene, spouse of Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Welcoming Schools Team, and a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. People in the LGBTQ+ community experience inequitable treatment across all parts of life, including in health and access to health care services. As we recognize Pride Month this June, I’d like to take a moment to bring attention to one of the many issues disproportionately affecting the LGBTQ+ community: cancer.
LGBTQ+ people are at an increased risk for at least seven types of cancer, including breast, uterine, colorectal, prostate, anal, lung and cervical cancers. These disparities are largely due to discrimination and other related factors. LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to be unemployed, uninsured, lack access to health care and delay health care compared to heterosexual, cisgender people. These barriers may lead them to miss lifesaving screenings and preventive care. A recent Prevent Cancer Foundation survey found that 47% of LGBTQ+ individuals say their health care provider was not aware of their LGBTQ+ status. Some individuals in the LGBTQ+ community may be reluctant to see a doctor because of unpleasant interactions they’ve experienced with health care providers.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation and its peer advocacy organizations are aiming to change this by addressing the lack of sexual orientation and gender identity data and research on LGBTQ+ individuals’ experience with their health care providers to further understand and tackle barriers to cancer screening. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to disrupt many Americans’ health care routines. The same Prevent Cancer Foundation survey found that 2 in 5 LGBTQ+ adults have missed a scheduled doctor’s appointment over the past two years. It is so important to keep up with your routine screenings. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is treatment will be successful. You are the best advocate for your personal health. Visit preventcancer.org to learn what screenings you need and get your appointments back on the books today.