Cancer · LGBT cancer

INCREASING LGBT HPV VACCINE RATES

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Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI, and the cause of both lesions (warts) in the pelvic/ genital region, as well as the mouth. HPV has been found to be the cause of a variety of cancers. National Cancer Institute states that “high-risk HPVs cause virtually all cervical cancers. They also cause most anal cancers and some vaginal, vulvar, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.”

The HPV vaccine was available for human use in 2006, and roll out campaigns aimed at youth have been the primary focus of the US public health service.  In the US, the CDC suggests the HPV vaccine be given to all children 11-12 years old, teenagers who have not yet been vaccinated, for women up to age of 26 and for men up to age 21.

So what is the current uptake of the vaccine in LGBT communities? A study found that only about 31% of lesbians and bisexual women who were interviewed had completed the 3-shot course of the HPV vaccine, while about 14% had started but not completed the vaccine series; this is particularly concerning considering lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to get regular PAP tests which can lead to early detection, meaning any cancer diagnosis may come at a later stage in the illness. Rates for gay and bisexual men, and transgendered people are not available.

New research has shown that the HPV vaccine would be a good idea for adult gay and bisexual men, especially those living with HIV, which can increase the odds of cancer caused by HPV.  For gay and bisexual men, HPV “is estimated to be present in 65% of gay men without HIV and 95% of those who are HIV positive. A simple and inexpensive anal Pap test detects the virus but, unfortunately, few physicians are performing anal screening exams and offering anal pap smears to gay men, resulting in anal cancer rates as high as those of cervical cancer BEFORE the use of routine Pap smears in women.” Activists in the UK are calling on the NHS to offer the vaccine to gay and bisexual men, calling current policies homophobic. Bisexuals, both men and women, have generally worse outcomes of most illnesses, compared to gay men and lesbians, and there is some evidence this extends to cancer. In our communities transgender folks may be uncomfortable, or cannot find a trans affirmative provider, who can perform necessary screenings such as prostate and rectal exams for trans women and chest and pelvic exams for trans men, which can also lead to late diagnosis and more invasive treatments.

While there is limited to no information on HPV vaccination rates for gay and bisexual men, or transgender persons, we recommend everyone seeking out the HPV vaccine from their provider. We also need better community messaging campaigns that bring information on this health issue to our community. The recent meningitis scare in LA and NYC has prompted public health officials to react, but HPV-related cancer will not have the same timing or geographical density for people to conceive an outbreak; these cancers will occur individually, across time: we need a similar high-yield campaign for HPV vaccines for the LGBT community.

To find out more check out information provided by the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. They do amazing work, and have resources and information that is priceless.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 26

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1mGRTXs

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Just A Little Prick

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The HPV vaccine, used to prevent HPV-related cancers, is not being utilized as much as public health professionals would like. LGBT health advocates in the UK are hoping to get the recommendations changed to include young gay and bisexual menin order to reduce rates of cancer.

Not So Minty Fresh

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Menthol flavoring, which can “mask the harshness” of cigarettes and has come under criticism for not being banned by the FDA like all other flavorings, is preferred by about ⅓ of smokers. In a first ever study, we find evidence that LGBT smokers also prefer menthol cigarettes more than others: LGBT smokers were found to smoke menthol flavored cigarettes a quarter more than others, while female LGBT smokers were found to smoke menthols 45% more than all current smokers.

What Did You Just Ask Me?

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The Williams Institute has released a report on the “Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys.” This report fills a critical gap so advocates have best questions to recommend for LGB and T inclusion in health surveys.

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are. Please!

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Kaiser Family Foundation came out with a new report showing over half of gay and bisexual men had never been advised to take an HIV test by their doctors, this could be because 47% of the men never came out to their providers. It just shows us how critical coming out can be for your health.

Bisexual Awareness

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This week, Bisexual Visibility Day, sought to increase knowledge and reduce stigma against bisexuals, who suffer high rates of violence and discrimination from both inside and outside the LGBT communities. Huffington Post reporter does a great job at looking at how bisexual research has perpetuated stigma and Charles Blow writes a compelling piece about the issue in New York Times.

Tending To Teens for Healthier Young Adults?

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One new study that LGBT young adults have higher risk of physical and mental health disparities, at the same time another study reports doctors don’t know how to communicate with LGBT teens. How much would increasing doctors abilities to talk to LGBT youth reduce health disparities?

Queer Ethics

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In a special issue focused on LGBT health and bioethics, the Hastings Center Report contains essays on topics including reducing health disparities and improving research conduct with LGBT youth, “reparative” therapies, LGBT veterans and the VA, LGBT access to health care and LGBT elder health disparities, just to name a few!

Free PrEP?

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If all goes as one local politician hopes, San Francisco may become the first U.S. city to offer PrEP for free. In a city with high HIV transmission rates, this program seeks to remove the barrier of the high cost of PrEP which may prevent many from accessing the medication.

Oh, Daddy!

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A new article which reviews studies of gay men’s parenting issues, including surrogacy, adoption and a host of other topics, highlights both discrimination faced by gay fathers, as well as positive relationships of gay fathers and adopted children.

Cancer · Survivor Support Groups · Take Care of That Body

OUR ONLINE CANCER PROGRAMS

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Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network 

For the past few months, The National LGBT Cancer Network has been contacting community centers around the country to join us adapting and promoting our two new online cancer programs aimed at the LGBT communities. Both “Take Care of That Body” and our online Support Groups for cancer survivors are available to LGBT community centers free of charge. We provide the programs, text to announce the programs for social media, newsletters and websites, as well as promotional postcards (images below). So far the DC Center for the LGBT Community, Hudson Pride Connections Center, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Harmony Cafe – Fox Valley, the Roanake Diversity Center, Oklahomans for Equality, the Richmond Gay Community Foundation and the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester have all begun promoting our programs.

Take Care of That Body” (TCTB) is an online program that is designed to educate the LGBT communities about our increased cancer risk factors and the importance of screening and early detection. The program allows users to create personalized cancer screening reports, learn about US Prevention Services Task Force-recommended cancer screenings, and offers referrals to LGBT-friendly free/low cost facilities. The risk assessment portion uses demographic, medical and behavioral questions to inform individuals what screening they may want to seek out from their healthcare providers. TCTB also has a place to sign up to receive electronic reminders, sent via text or email, to remind you to ask your doctor for or about these screenings. TCTB also has a small, but growing list of LGBT friendly cancer screening facilities. The National LGBT Cancer Network has selected these resources because of their commitment to offering safe, affordable, welcoming care to all LGBT people. Each facility has a Personal Contact who will guide you in setting up your appointments and assure your comfort and safety when you arrive. If you know of any centers that are near you that may qualify and are not yet on the list, please contact us to let us know, and we will reach out to them!

 

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The Support Groups are free online support forums to LGBT cancer survivors (internet access required to participate). Many LGBT survivors do not feel welcome or understood in mainstream support groups and transgender survivors have been especially excluded. There are very few in-person LGBT cancer support groups being offered across the country and those who live further from major metropolitan areas are very unlikely to find one at all. So, we decided to do something about it ourselves. We offer separate forums for interested participants: one forum for lesbian- and bisexual- identified women, a separate forum for gay- and bisexual- identified men, and a forum for transgender-identified people with cancer. The groups will operate in 12-week cycles, close for a 2 week break, then begin again. Each forum is moderated by a licensed clinical social worker and will be available to participants 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

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You can visit our programs on our website, and if you know anyone who you think would benefit please pass it on! As well, if you know of any organizations that may want to help us expand our programs around the country to local communities, feel free to make the introduction!

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 19

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1qnjiJ1

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Delaying Puberty

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Transgender youth who receive hormone suppression were found to have increased levels of happiness and decreased mental health burden.

How We Age

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There’s a cluster of studies out this week on older LGBT people. In one quality of life was found to be negatively impacted by discrimination, while mental health was improved if people accepted their sexuality but negatively impacted by disclosure of that sexuality, authors note the differences has a large impact on the oldest of the old. Another study showed almost 1/3 of midlife and older people had some fear of disclosing their sexuality and were less comfort accessing care services. A needs assessment in Minnesota explored how most LGBT seniors had a primary caregiver who was not a legal relation. Yet another study showed loneliness was also found to be an issue for many LGBT seniors. Luckily the William Way Center in Philadelphia is pioneering housing for low-income LGBT seniors, which may help alleviate some burdens faced by this population.

From The Trenches

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A doctor in LA is requesting the CDC prioritize investigation of meningitis, a vaccine-preventable disease, among gay men after 11 new cases and 3 deaths have been reported.

Transitioning As Parents

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A study of relationship between transgender parents and their children found that almost all had good relationships with their children, but that being a parent often delays the gender transition process.

Proving Things We Understand

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Abuse due to transgender identity and depression among trans women were found to relate to substance abuse in a study that also called for better substance abuse treatment program for transgender people.

Canadians Recommending Campaign Aimed At Bisexual Stigma

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A study in Canada again highlights worse health outcomes, increased sexual risk taking, and more abuse among non-monosexual women than lesbians or heterosexual women. The authors call for a campaign aimed at bisexual stigma or a sexual education campaign aimed at vulnerable women.

 

Data · LGBT cancer · Research Studies

DO LGBT YOUTH HAVE CANCER DISPARITIES?

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Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network

Do LGBT youth have higher prevalence of cancer than other youth? To be honest, we don’t know. The lack of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) on institutional intake forms across the medical professions has resulted in difficulty ascertaining LGBT health disparities, requiring researchers to establish studies to answer these sorts of questions. SOGI is also not recorded in cancer registries. What we do know is that LGBT adults do have higher cancer rates, and higher prevalence of cancer risk factors, many of which may be traced back to experiences and behaviors that began in adolescents. Recently, the head of the U.S. food and drug administration stated that smoking is a pediatric disease, because the majority of adult smokers started in adolescents and adolescents who reach adulthood without ever having smoked a cigarette have much lower rates of starting cigarette use later in life. I would argue that many LGBT health disparities, including cancer, may be traced to minority stress and behaviors linked to this form of stress as coping mechanisms. In fact one study, Dr. Rosario (who worked on the study) commented “Sexual minorities are at risk for cancer later in life, I suggest, from a host of behaviors that begin relatively early in life,” said Professor Rosario. “No sex or ethnic racial group is at greater risk or protected for these behaviors. Overall, the study underscores the need for early interventions.” (1)

 

Minority stress is a public health theory which explains that stress resulting from discrimination and stigmatization of minority groups affects the individuals health in a number of ways throughout the lifespan. Many studies of minority stress show that LGBT people experience this, which may be further compounded by racial minority status, disability, class or many other stigmatized identities an individual may hold while also being LGBT. Earlier this year a study found that LGB people who live in communities with high levels of anti-LGB prejudice had a 12 year reduction in life expectancy when compared to heterosexual peers in the same community who do not experience discrimination (2). In 2013 other studies found that LGB people who live in states without LGBT protective policies were 5X more likely than those in other states to have 2 or more mental disorders (3) and LGB people who experienced “prejudice-related major life events” were 3x more likely to suffer a serious physical health problem over the next year than people who had not experienced such events regardless of other factors such as age, gender, employment and health history (4).

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How would adult LGBT health change if LGBT youth were supported by their community and schools?

 

So how does this play out for LGBT youth specifically? One study found that, when asked about concerns, heterosexual high school students stated grades and classes as number 1 on their list, with college and careers, and financial pressures related to college or jobs coming second and third, while LGBT students reported more immediate, tangible issues such as non-accepting families, school bullying and fear of being out as their top 3 concerns (in that order) (5). We also know how stigma and discrimination leads to negative mental health outcomes. So, it is no surprise that mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety lead to higher levels of smoking, alcohol consumption, substance abuse and riskier sexual behavior. One study found that LGBT students had higher prevalence in 10 risk categories (these were: behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management) (6). The same study Dr. Rosario commented on earlier found that of “the 12 cancer-risk behaviors included tobacco use, drinking alcohol, early sex, multiple sexual partners, higher body mass index (BMI) and lack of exercise. The report found that for all 12, sexual minorities were more likely than heterosexuals to engage in the risky behavior (1). Other studies have linked psychological distress and LGBT victimization to high smoking prevalences (6).

 

So, while there is limited data on cancer among LGBT youth, it is clear that lifetime stressors related to LGBT status, instilled in adolescence, coupled with unhealthy coping mechanisms, are responsible for increased cancer incidence among LGBT adults. It is my opinion that the roots of these cancers may be traced to experiences of homophobia as a LGBT pediatric health disparity.

 

References:

  1. Rosario, M., Corliss, H. L., Everett, B. G., Reisner, S. L., Austin, S. B., Buchting, F. O., & Birkett, M. (2014). Sexual orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors of tobacco, alcohol, sexual behaviors, and diet and physical activity: pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. American journal of public health, 104(2), 245-254.
  2. Garcia, M. (2014). Study: Antigay communities lead to early LGB  death. Advocate.com. Retrieved fromhttp://www.advocate.com/health/2014/02/16/study-antigay-communities-lead-early-lgb-death
  3. Haas AP, Eliason M, Mays VM, et al. Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: review and recommendations. Journal of homosexuality. 2011;58(1):10-51.
  4. Durso, L. E., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Patterns and predictors of disclosure of sexual orientation to healthcare providers among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10(1), 35-42.
  5. GROWING UP LGBT IN AMERICA (HRC). (2012) http://www.hrc.org/youth
  6. 6.Kann, L., O’Malley Olsen, E., McManus, T., Kinchen, S., Chyen, D., Harris, W. A., & Wechsler, H. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors among Students in Grades 9-12–Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Early Release. Volume 60. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 12

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1tWFZLB

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

LGBT Youth & College Student Substance Use

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LGB college students were found to have higher alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, compared to their heterosexual peers, with bisexual women reporting the highest use. While another study found LGBT high school students who lived in neighborhoods with higher rates of anti-LGBT hate crimes had significantly higher reported marijuana use than their peers.

For The Record

 

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A new study found that patients will generally accept sexual orientation and gender identity questions on medical intake forms, which the IOM and many advocates are pushing for so we can better collect data on LGBT health outcomes.

 

Across The Pond: More Of The Same

 

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In findings that mirror research in the U.S.A., a new journal article reports that LGB people in England have “poorer health and worse health care experiences” including depression and other poor mental health outcomes.

 

Trans, Global

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Denmark’s new law is lauded for allowing trans people to only fill out paperwork to change gender, without the need for permission by medical or psychological professionals; although criticism is reserved for the 18-years-old age requirement. While across the globe, Eliana Rubashkyn, writes about her experiences withtransgender discrimination and immigration laws in Hong Kong. U.S. researchers explain that trans women are over-represented in prison populations and have higher levels of victimization while incarcerated, numbers that are even higher for trans women of color.

 

GLMA Honors Sebelius

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The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is presenting former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius with an award, for promoting LGBT inclusive policies.

 

NYC PSA: LGBT Kids Are OK

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An NYC HIV prevention organization, CAMBA, has rolled out bus advertisements urging parents, guardians and families to accept their LGBT child, offering links to resources. The campaign is part of Project Accept LGBT Youth which hopes to reduce mental health, substance abuse and HIV rates among young LGBT people.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness · Uncategorized

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1lRbvIm

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Incarcerated and Unemployed: Confronting Trans Discrimination

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A new review of research and current policies regarding incarcerated transgender people discusses mental health needs, and the status of trans healthcare in prisons, also sites the overrepresentation of trans people in prison. Ontario’s cool community based participatory trans research project, TransPULSE, has come out with a new report showing trans people in Ontario have high rates of unemployment and underemployment, citing discrimination as a core reason. The links between unemployment and incarceration are not lost on us.

In Memory

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Andrew Cray, LGBT health advocate who worked for the Center for American Progress passed away from oral cancer last week. We all thank him for years of work, particularly his recent role in securing bulletins prohibiting insurance exclusions for trans care in DC and nine states. He’s memorialized elegantly by his friend, and coworker, Kellan Baker.

CVS Serving US Better

In March we blogged about the pending CVS changes to stop selling tobacco and what that means for the LGBT communities. Since then CVS has changed it’s name, ceased selling tobacco products (saying they can’t justify selling medicine and tobacco in the same location), and to top it off is now marketing themselves withLGBT inclusive advertisements.

When the Feds Fund LGBT Health The Right Wing Calls It Waste

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A federally funded study on sexual orientation and obesity is making headlines in right wing papers for wasteful spending. The Washington Post tries some basic support of the study, noting obesity is a major public health concern. We say kudos that NIH is making sure to include at least one study on us for one of the top public health crises today.

Lesbian? Out? Depressed?

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In a new study measuring the relationship between how “out” lesbians are and depression over 50% of participants reported lifetime history of depression at baseline and disclosure effects on depression varied by ethnic/racial identity, the authors urged more study of racial/ethnic variations.

Not So Safe At Home

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Two new studies show that LGBT people experience higher rates of domestic violence than the general population: triple the rate for men, and 75% more for women cohabitating with same sex partners, while 34.6 % of trans people reported history of domestic violence.

 

Uncategorized

50% HIGHER SMOKING RATES

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Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network

We often quote numbers of LGBT individuals who smoke, or use tobacco. These numbers come from studies and surveys; one survey in particular the National Adult Tobacco Survey (NATS) asks individuals across types of tobacco products from smokeless tobacco (like snus or chewing tobacco), electronic cigarettes, waterpipes or hookah use, Cigars, cigarillos and filtered little cigars, and “any combustible tobacco product (this includes cigarettes). From these findings, and demographic information taken during the survey, we can see by race, gender, sexual orientation, age, region, education and income, how many people are smoking and what they are smoking.

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So how many LGBT people smoke? According to King, Dube and Tynan’s (2012) analysis of the 2009-2010 NATS reports LGBT people smoked at 52% higher rate than the general population when asked if they use “Any Tobacco” products. The 2012-2013 NATS found that LGBT people smoked at a 50% higher rate than the general population (Igaku, King, Husten, et al, 2014). It is a good start that the both groups decreased tobacco use, but LGBT people still smoke at twice the rate of the general population (see chart for details).

2009-2010 NATS 2012-2013 NATS
ANY TOBACCO USE
General Population 25.30% 20.50%
LGBT People 38.50% 30.80%
% Difference between LGBT and General Population 52% higher 50% higher

Sidenotes:In 2009-2010 and 2012-2013, consecutively, 16.6% and 24% of people who did not report their sexuality reported “any tobacco use;” it is curious why a 44% increase of individuals chose not to report their sexuality. A change in the way the question was asked between the two surveys is our best guess for this discrepancy.

Also, although many places the NATS report is reported as LGB, we’re reporting it as LGBT because even though questions about transgender status was asked in a poor way. While we will work at getting better measures used to describe transgender status and populations, we do not want to throw away this data at this point.

 

REFERENCES:

King, BA, Dube, SR & Tynan, MA. Brian A. (2012) Current Tobacco Use Among Adults in the United States: Findings From the National Adult Tobacco Survey. American Journal of Public Health: 102(11), e93-e100. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301002

Agaku, IT, King, BA, Husten CG, Bunnell, R, Ambrose, BK, Hu, SS,…Ray, HR. (2014). Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2012–2013. MMWR: 63(25);542-547. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6325a3.htm

Uncategorized

They Did It: They Got Mammograms Together

 

liz margolies

 

 

 

Founder and Executive Director,
National LGBT Cancer Network

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1qMzWT9

When sorting through life’s chores and adventures, there are some things we automatically think to share with others, and some we simply plan alone. If I want to see a movie, I start by looking for a friend to accompany me, even though I am perfectly capable of going alone. The same goes for buying new eyeglasses or planning a vacation. On the other hand, I tend to exercise alone, buy groceries by myself and read a book solo.

I also go to the doctor alone, as do all my friends. We are a tight-knit group going back over 20 years; we share secrets, books and restaurant recommendations. I can tell you all their clothing and shoe sizes, yet I don’t know the names of most of their doctors. But of all things, medical care for LGBT people should absolutely be a community activity. We have more fear and more negative experiences with the healthcare system, and we could use additional support. Imagine trading the strained silence in the medical waiting room for the clamor of chatter among friends. Imagine how much easier it would be to come out to your doctor, knowing your friend is within shouting distance. Imagine the cumulative educational experience for healthcare providers when a succession of patients all come out to them on a given Tuesday morning.

The greater the fear, the more we need to have allies in attendance. My friend Jackie figured this out two years ago, after worrying aloud to her friend Barbara about her upcoming mammography appointment. (The dreaded squish is recommended every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74, or younger for those with a family history of breast cancer.) It turned out that Barbara used the same radiologist as Jackie and had scheduled her own appointment for the following week. They vowed to go together this year; that appointment happened this past Tuesday.

Jackie and Barbara are both lesbians; they are also both white. As a group, lesbians have a cluster of risk factors that increase our likelihood of getting breast cancer. We drink more alcohol, smoke at significantly higher rates, are less likely to have had a biological child before the age of 30 (which would have offered some protection) and are more likely to be overweight. African-American women have a lower risk of getting breast cancer than white women but are, paradoxically, more likely to die from it.

The studies are mixed, but many show that despite the increased breast-cancer risk, lesbians are less likely to get the recommended mammograms, increasing the odds of having the cancer detected at a later stage. The reasons for avoidance of the healthcare system in general, and of mammograms in particular, are understandable. As a group, LGBT people have historically had lower rates of health insurance, although the Affordable Care Act is changing our access to coverage. Many lesbians and bisexual women underestimate their risks for breast cancer, and, taking into account the history of ignorance and/or discrimination by providers, they simply avoid the subject. Trans men without top surgery can add to the list a denial of the existence of body parts that don’t match their gender identity. But our health depends on our ability to push past all these barriers and fight for our lives.

I applaud Jackie and Barbara, both for their diligence in being screened and for hatching their plan of mutual support. Most of us complain that we don’t see our friends often enough, yet we fail to see this opportunity for catching up on our lives, instead sitting nervously alone in waiting rooms across the country, often for an hour or more. Yesterday in New York City, Jackie and Barbara gossiped, laughed, and squeezed each other’s hand after being called in. They also were there for each other when the radiologist read the results. Both sets of mammograms were clean. Shwooo!

I think we can all take our cue from Jackie and Barbara and turn medical appointments into a team sport. If we went as a gang, we would also be better able to encourage that friend who always avoids the doctor to come along with us. From annual physicals to recommended cancer screenings, make a day of it. A movie and a mammogram! Cocktails and colonoscopies! Pap smears and pasta! Our lives depend on it.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: August 22

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1qGP0BG

BAD JOURNALISTS

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This week’s awards for awful journalism goes to an awful story trying to panic us into thinking the LGBT community is at risk from TB carried by undocumented immigrant minors. Meanwhile a FOX news host calls parents that affirm their child’s trans identity “child abusers,” which was condemned not only by LGBT rights groups, but medical professionals from psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians.

 

QUEERING YOUTH MEDICINE

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This week several academic medicine articles worked to inform pediatricians about medical and mental health needs of LGBT youth, outlining guidelineshormone therapies and gynecological care for transgender youth.

 

LGB MED STUDENTS STRUGGLE

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A large survey at medical schools found that LGB med students (none identified as transgender) were more depressed, had less social support than heterosexual med students, reported discomfort in coming out at school, and rated their campuses noninclusive. This comes a month after we reported LGB surgery residents had similar experiences.

KILLER STRESS

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A review of data from a the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health showed that stressful life events from childhood to young adulthood increased cardiometabolic risk (diabetes and cardiovascular disease) for LGB people; the same risks did not occur for straight people with stressful life events.

 

OH, COME ON!

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Research of orgasms by sexual identity found that lesbians orgasm more frequently during sex than heterosexual or bisexual women; there was little variation of orgasm frequency in men by sexual orientation.

 

ORGAN REJECTION

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A tragic suicide by a gay teen was made even more sad when his organs were rejected for transplant due to FDA policy on organ donations by gay and bisexual men; his mother is campaigning to end the ban. This comes only weeks after theNational Gay Blood Drive, a protest organized to question the FDA ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

 

YOUTH OF COLOR TALK GAY AGENDA

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The Black Youth Project surveyed 1,500 young people about the LGBT agenda found major differences by racial groups, with black and latino youth believing that LGBT groups spend too much effort on marriage equality, and that HIV, violence, bullying, and services for homeless LGBT youth were more important issues.