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LGBTQ+ with breast cancer

2 Min. Read

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In addition to coping with a diagnosis, you may have unique concerns about communicating with your healthcare team, navigating the healthcare system, and finding doctors and other healthcare professionals you can trust when sharing your sexual orientation or gender identity.

In this section, you can find tailored information and practical tools to help you understand disparities in health care and research for LGBTQ+ people and how to navigate the ways that diagnosis and treatment may impact your emotions, body image, sexual life, and family plans. We also share breast cancer risk, screening, and treatment guidance for transgender individuals.

Plus, you can read our Popular stories below to connect and find comfort in the real stories of members of sexual minority groups (people who are not heterosexual or cisgender) living with breast cancer.

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Quick facts

  • There are an estimated one million LGBTQ+ people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer living in the U.S. today. (National LGBT Cancer Network, 2020)
  • LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. are disproportionately affected by at least seven types of cancer, including anal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine cancer. (cancer.net, 2021)
  • Breast cancer risk for transgender people assigned male at birth (AMAB) is much higher than for cisgender men. (BMJ, 2019)
  • Breast cancer risk for transgender people assigned female at birth (AFAB) is much lower than for cisgender women. (BMJ, 2019)
  • Transgender people are significantly less likely to be screened for breast and cervical cancer compared with cisgender individuals. (American Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2022)
  • Women who are not heterosexual are more likely than heterosexual women to get a mammogram due to a problem rather than for routine screening. (LGBT Health, 2020)
  • A 2023 study found that when compared with heterosexual people, people in sex and gender minority groups:

  • Lack of trust in healthcare professionals among LGBTQ+ people could be a reason for declining recommended treatment. (Stanford Medicine Scope, 2023)
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VIDEO: Parenting with early-stage breast cancer

When Emily was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer at age 35, she and her wife, Jess, had to make decisions about when and how to tell their kids. Emily shares how they have navigated communication, including their daughter’s concerns about her own health.

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Reviewed and updated: February 13, 2024

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, MD , Victoria Seamon, MA, LPCC

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