Once we get over the shock of the numbers, can we use the research showing higher reported cancer rates among gay men in our fight to end healthcare disparities?!
The Boston University School of Public Health study, published today, found that gay men were 1.9 times more likely to report having had cancer than heterosexual men. Similarly, the study found that lesbian or bisexual women were over twice as likely as straight women to report suffering from poor or fair health in post-cancer months.
While lifestyle differences are suggested as factoring into these results (gay men smoke, drink and abuse drugs at high rates) it is said that access to appropriate, gay-friendly healthcare might be most deserving of blame.
Ulrike Boehmer, the study's lead author from the Boston University School of Public Health, said higher rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be related to the increased risk of cancer in gay men, but the study couldn't address that question specifically.
[Liz] Margolies [executive director of The National LGBT Cancer Network] thinks there is more going on. "Gay men as a group have a bunch of risk factors for cancer," she said.
For instance, gay men and lesbian women are more likely to smoke and abuse alcohol than straight men and women. They're also more likely to avoid going to see their doctor for routine physicals or cancer screening, Margolies added - since healthcare providers may not all be tolerant and accepting of their identity.