Cervical cancer screening still needed for LGBT women
LGBT women constantly face discrimination wherever they go, and that includes during medical tests like cervical cancer screening.
Cervical cancer is a danger to women everywhere. It is the third most common malignancy in women worldwide, and it remains a leading cause of cancer-related death for women.
Unfortunately, this includes lesbians, bisexual women and transgender men who have cervixes.
Yet, due to a number of factors– such as fear of discrimination and negative experiences with health care providers– LGBT women avoid participating in cervical cancer screenings.
For instance, some lesbians may not obtain regular pap screenings for cervical cancer because they assume that only sex with men increases the risk of developing the condition.
However, this perception is untrue and lesbians face a higher risk because of these misconceptions.
Cervical cancer screening: Precaution as prevention
For LGBT women, taking screening tests will certainly help, especially after a new study found that certain factors affect cervical cancer screening among lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender men.
The study’s findings suggest that even just minor modifications to the health care environment and forms can promote cancer screening among lesbian, bisexual and queer women, thus reducing health disparities.
“The healthcare landscape needs to be more affirmative and inclusive for LGBT people,” said Dr. Micheal Johnson, lead author of the Journal of Clinical Nursing study.
“This can only be achieved if each healthcare professional, especially nurses and providers, educate themselves on how to provide better care to LGBT people,” Johnson added.
Cervical cancer screening: Healthcare organizations
Fortunately, a number of healthcare organizations have been actively giving the initiative to serve LGBT patients.
One of these organizations is the American Cancer Society (ACS), which is working to educate women on what cancers they’re at risk for and how to find these cancers early.
Another is the National LGBT Cancer Network, which focuses on improving lives of LGBT people with cancer and those at risk.
They also educate the LGBT community, train healthcare providers, and advocate for LGBT inclusion in national cancer organizations, research, and media.
There is also the Family First Health in Hanover, which has been selected as part of an initiative to provide care that is more comprehensive for LGBT patients.
This specific program aims to give LGBT people improved care by asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Remember: cervical cancer can affect any woman who is – or has been – sexually active with a man or a woman. It occurs in women who have had HPV (human papilloma virus).
Likewise, cervical cancer is also more likely in women who smoke, have HIV or AIDS, or don’t get regular pap tests.