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Care for all: LGBTQIA+ patient resources

Young woman with short hair stands for LGBTQIA rights

LGBTQIA+ patients often have a difficult time finding care providers that are knowledgeable about their sexualities or gender identities, or may face discrimination within healthcare settings because of their identities. 

This Pride Month, we’re sharing resources for patients in the LGBTQIA+ community to help enable access to the best possible cancer care.

Disparities in cancer care

A lack of gender-affirming care plays a role in the low screening rates among the LGBTQIA+ community. This comes largely from a fear of discrimination, previous negative experiences, and limited accessible care.

This is especially true for LGBTQIA+ individuals who live in states with “conscience clauses,” which allow healthcare providers, staff, and insurers to deny care and services based on personal and religious beliefs. There are currently nine states where it is legal for professionals to refuse care to LGBTQIA+ patients, covering an estimated 20% of the community.

According to a study reported by the American Cancer Society, only 40% of oncologists working at NCI-designated centers felt confident in their knowledge of the health needs for lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals and only 20% were confident in their knowledge of the health needs of transgender individuals.

These combined factors greatly contribute to the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals, emphasizing the importance of advocacy and education for this community.

Resources for patients in the LGBTQIA+ community

The National LGBT Cancer Network is an advocacy organization that offers education, support groups, community, and research for the LGBTQIA+ community. It also provides training for healthcare professionals to improve inclusiveness in cancer centers. Utilize its directory to find an LGBTQIA+ friendly screening facility or cancer treatment center near you.

CancerCare also offers an inclusive space and resources to support cancer patients. This fact sheet on coping with cancer helps patients navigate the healthcare system as an LGBTQIA+ person and provides tips for self-advocacy to find equitable care.

Outcomes4Me welcomes all cancer patients. Our purpose is to improve outcomes for all, by empowering patients and democratizing healthcare. You can download the Outcomes4Me app and talk to an oncology nurse practitioner at no charge by using the “Ask Outcomes4Me” button.

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