News > LGBTQIA+ and breast cancer care: A guide for providers

LGBTQIA+ and breast cancer care: A guide for providers

Tips for support and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community

Smiling older lesbian couple touch heads

Here are some tips to create inclusivity:

  1. Avoid assumptions. We all have internal biases and make quick judgements. When we take the time to examine these assumptions and how we express them, we become more inclusive. Try to meet each person as a new unique individual without assuming their gender, sexuality, or partnership status.
  2. Use inclusive language. Language is not static–it grows and changes! We should all strive to mirror the language used by patients and stay up to date on best practices with communities. Some of the basic elements of speech you should be using include:

    • introducing yourself with pronouns (and asking every person their pronouns),
    • asking who is accompanying them so you don’t assume a relationship,
    • asking open-ended questions (for instance, “Tell me about your family” rather than, “Are you married or single?”).

  3. Recognize health disparities and do your part to change the system. Advocate for change because when systems remain the same, we aren’t making any real progress. When patients bring an issue to your attention, bring it up to your supervisor or administration. And follow-up – don’t just mention it and forget it.

Studies show that LGBTQIA+ cancer patients get cancer more often, find out about it later, and don’t get included in research as much as straight people do (National LGBT Cancer Network). There is some vital work being done to fix these disparities, and I encourage anyone reading this to get involved in some way (check out the National LGBT Cancer Project).


Learn more about the Bright Spot Network.


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