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Cancer Information for Lesbian and Bisexual Women

According to the American Cancer Society, some of the types of cancer that most often affect women are breast, lung, colorectal, endometrial, cervical, ovarian, and skin cancers.  Data suggests that due to varied social and economic factors, bisexual and lesbian women may be at a higher risk for breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer.  Knowing about these types of cancers and what you can do to help prevent them or find them at an early stage (when they are smaller and more treatable), may help save your life.

Breast Cancer – one of the most common types of cancer in women, can occur at any age, but the risk goes up as you get older.  Getting regular mammograms is the most reliable way to find breast cancer early. Learn more about breast cancer.

Ovarian Cancer – can occur at any age but the risk increase as you grow older.  There is an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who have never had children, or who gave birth after the age of 35.  Additional risk factors include the use of estrogen replacement hormone therapy, hereditary factors such as HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome, and other family histories of cancer.

Cervical Cancer – chronic infection by certain types of HPV is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer.  Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, immune system issues, or taking certain hormone treatments.  Regular cervical screening provides the best chance of detecting cervical cancers.

In addition to discussing risk assessment with your doctor and regular cancer screenings, here are some things that women can do to help reduce their cancer risk and be healthy.

  • Stay away from tobacco
  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Get to a healthy weight
  • Maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or better yet, don’t drink
  • Know your body, your family history, and your risks
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor

Some studies suggest that lesbian and bisexual women get less routine health care than other women, including colorectal, breast, and cervical screening tests for reasons such as fear of discrimination, low rates of health insurance (some insurance policies don’t cover same-sex partners), or negative experiences with health care providers.  Missing routine cancer screening tests can lead to cancer being diagnosed at a much later stage, when it is sometimes more difficult to treat, so it’s important to find a health care provider you can be comfortable with.

Identifying as a lesbian or bisexual woman can be a part of your life experience that makes it difficult for you to feel comfortable enough to seek and get the care that you need. Finding a health care team that is sensitive to and embraces, LGBT identity allows you to utilize the full spectrum of health care support available to you.  At River Bend Medical Associates our progressive, sensitive, and culturally diverse team is committed to delivering compassionate family health care and promoting the well-being of our patients, employees, and the communities we serve.  When providing services to members of our local LGBT community, our goal is for our patients to feel secure in discussing any issue of medical concern with their River Bend practitioner. As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your health care needs.  For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.

Read more Cancer Facts for Lesbian and Bisexual Women from the American Cancer Society.

~At River Bend Medical Associates our mission is to provide a progressive, culturally sensitive, and diverse family practice by serving the needs of our patients, employees, and communities; unified in our goal to provide excellent services in an ever-changing healthcare environment.~

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