A cancer diagnosis is an unfortunate reality for many Americans in all different backgrounds of life. Dealing with cancer is especially difficult for LGBT women due to a wide range of health disparities. Recently, a study was published highlighting LGBT health care discrimination. For example, post-cancer treatment isn’t as readily available for LGBT women, creating significant health risks. Understanding the various LGBT health disparities is important in identifying this problem and finding ways to overcome this challenge.
Health Issues Relevant to the LGBT+ Communities
LGBT health care discrimination is a real problem, as many people in this community face stigma and insensitivity in the medical industry. Cancer poses additional threats for those in the LGBT community. They have a much higher rate of obesity, alcohol use, and smoking than the national average, which increases the risk of cancer. Additionally, there is also an even higher risk of lesbian breast cancer if a woman never had children.
Cancer Treatment Study
Data related to cancer treatment for the LGBT community isn’t readily available, creating even more challenges. A lack of information makes it more challenging to meet the needs of LGBT women better while also finding ways to improve medical care for gay men’s health. However, a recent study analyzed various groups of people that received cancer treatment from 2014 to 2017. The study included 70,524 cancer survivors that also had 1,931 LGB people from the United States and Guam. The data from this recent study made it possible to compare post-cancer treatment care for all of these different groups of people.
LGBT Health Disparities
The study found that LGBT men and women had less access to post-cancer treatment despite the recent marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act. These LGBT health disparities resulted in a worse quality of life by making it much more difficult to receive adequate post-cancer treatment. LGBT women are also less likely to have a job that offers health insurance. Many face various financial challenges with insurance coverage, such as not paying copayments for past-cancer treatment care.
There is also a significant knowledge gap among doctors regarding LGBT experience, which can further create additional LGBT health disparities. For example, most doctors don’t ask patients about their sexual orientation, as it’s often left to the patient to disclose this information. However, this lack of communication creates even more obstacles, as an oncology provider isn’t fully aware of each patient’s unique needs.
Understanding how to limit cancer health disparities for anyone in the LGBT community remains a major challenge due to various legislation. National health data that includes sexual orientation has slightly increased over the last twenty years, but other challenges remain. For example, recent laws in various states make doctors refuse to treat LGBT patients based on religion. These policies will make those in the LGBT community feel even less comfortable receiving treatment, which causes even wider cancer health disparities.
Lack of Data
Data collection involving gender identity and sexual orientation has also been scaled back in the previous administration. A lack of data makes it even more challenging to understand LGBT health disparities than the rest of the population. Not having enough data related to gay and lesbian health issues can lead to a national epidemic without anyone realizing it. Creating healthcare policies to gather more data is essential in providing equal cancer treatment for those in the LGBT community.
Post-cancer treatment cancer care is a major issue for anyone in the LGBT community. These cancer health disparities will only continue to get worse over time without immediate action. A lack of available data also creates additional challenges in providing post-cancer treatment for LGBT women and men. Looking at ways to solve these LGBT health disparities is essential in providing everyone with the same opportunity to receive equal cancer treatment to overcome these serious health issues relevant to the LGBT communities.