Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pink Ribbons - Breast Cancer and the LGBT Community

Recently some local blogs - Pam's Health Blend, and BlueNC, working with firedoglake - took NC Senator Kay Hagan to task for not supporting a public health plan. Their complaint was very specific - they are speaking on behalf of women survivors of breast cancer.

This issue is of particular relevance to the gay community. While one in every eight women will have to deal with breast cancer in her life, lesbians and bisexual women actually have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Now the reasons for this are debatable. These women may be less likely to monitor their health and get screened for breast cancer, due to real and/or perceived homophobia in the medical community, not having access to health care through a partner, etc. They may also tend to have fewer children and have children later in life, both of which put a woman more at risk.

Even though the causation is debatable, the correlation is not. Breast cancer is a very real issue that affects lesbians and bi women more than straight women.

Of course, breast cancer is an issue for all people - men, transfolks, teens, the elderly, etc.

The most effective means of controlling breast cancer is early detection, through self-examination, exams by a physician, and regular mammograms (especially at ages 40+).

The American Cancer Society has plenty of information on breast cancer. They also have resource materials for LGBT folks regarding cancer in general.


  1. nice post and thanks for sharing...
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  2. Reasons for this one are Debatable..
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