Gays and lesbians at higher risk for certain forms of cancer

By on Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Gays and lesbians appear to be at higher risk for certain forms of cancer, according to  Dept of Health and Human Services .  At the same time, a survey of LGBT Americans indicates that there is little awareness of the risk within the community.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men who have sex with men (MSMs) are 17 times more likely than straights to develop anal cancer. The theory is that human papillomavirus (HPV)–which is thought to cause cervical cancer in women–can cause anal cancer in men.  Out With Cancer has not seen an evidenced based study that supports this contention, but, it does seem clear that there are 17 times more MsM men diagnosed with anal cancer, than straight men.  This is based on approximately 2,000 total men diagnosed per year throughout the United States.

Moreover, the American Cancer Society said in a March 23 news release, because gays and lesbians smoke twice as much as heterosexuals, they might be more at risk for lung cancer.  Out With Cancer has not seen any evidenced based research to validate the American Cancer Society claim that our community’s tobacco abuse level is twice as high as in the heterosexual community.  But, any level of tobacco abuse in our community is unacceptable. Tobacco is a clear health danger. Breast cancer among lesbians is also a concern: the news release warned that “lesbians have a dense cluster of risk factors significantly raising their risk” of the disease.

“LGBT cancer research is rarely conducted or published,” said Darryl Mitteldorf, LCSW, Executive Director of Out With Cancer – The LGBT Cancer Project, America’s first national lgbt cancer support and advocacy organization. We continue to develop new programs and cancer awareness in the LGBT community, said Mr. Mitteldorf.

Categories : Prevention, Research


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  2. Dan Collier says:

    Late to this, but how little is known, specifically, about the relationship between those of us in the LGBT community and cancer. I can understand why in the past thiswas so,since we were rarely included in research studies; i.e., openly identified as LGBT. I don’t really see all that much being done even today which targets us specifically. A shame, because so many of us are out today, we would gladly take part in research.

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