Why are we talking about Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, and Non-Binary Breast Health?
There are no biological differences that put LGBTQ people at risk of breast cancer, but factors like discrimination, stigma, and isolation do impact health outcomes in our community. Research shows that due to past negative experiences with healthcare providers, LGBTQ people tend to delay regular health screenings, which results in later stage cancer diagnoses and poorer outcomes.
It is especially important that members of the LGBTQ commit to getting regular breast/chest screenings, as lesbian and bisexual cisgender women do experience breast cancer at higher rates than heterosexual cisgender women. This increased risk in the LGBTQ community results from experiencing fewer protective factors, including giving birth and breast feeding, as well as experiencing greater risk factors, including smoking and obesity.
Why should I commit to routine breast/chest screenings?
Because early detection makes all the difference.
The three main risk factors for breast cancer are:
- Having breast tissue
- Having a family history of breast cancer
According to the American Cancer Society:
- The 5-year relative survival rate for people diagnosed with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer is close to 100%.
- The 5-year relative survival rate for people diagnosed with stage II breast cancer is about 93%.
- The 5-year relative survival rate for people diagnosed stage III breast cancer is about 72%.
- Breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body are more difficult to treat and tend to have a poorer outlook. Metastatic, or stage IV breast cancers, have a 5-year relative survival rate of about 22%.