7 Cancers May Occur More Frequently In LGBTQ Community

Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South FloridaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center
University of South Florida

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Quinn: Our research group has been conducting studies of the LGBTQ community and their healthcare experiences combined with providers knowledge and attitudes about LGBTQ and cancer care. This led us to examine the literature on cancer and LGBTQ. The main findings point to the lack of rigorous data about cancer in the LGBTQ community. Our review revealed that 7 cancers (anal, breast, cervical, colorectal, colon and rectal, endometrial, lung and prostate cancers) may occur more frequently in the community due to elevated prevalence of risk factors and behaviors such as obesity and substance use; however, there are limited data on outcomes, morbidity and mortality. The lack of data makes it difficult for providers to fully inform patients about early detection, prevention, and treatment options and outcomes. Further, the lack of psychosocial data makes it difficult to provide supportive care recommendations and other forms of support

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Quinn: There is great need to collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity so that we can build larger databases to track incidence and outcomes of cancer in the LGBTQ community.  Further research is also needed in the psychosocial realm. For example, we hear anecdotal reports that lesbian women with breast cancer are less interested in reconstruction and more interested in having educational materials that are not heteronormative, yet there are no empirical studies to support this. Clinicians should understand that sexual orientation and gender identity are important pieces of information to collection about their patients – they should not be treating everyone the same or assuming everyone is gender aligned and heterosexual. Patients should expect to be asked and provide this information – it is an important part of their health history.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Quinn: Collection of gender identity and sexual orientation should be part of the health record with strict confidentiality applied and large databases established so the research and clinical community can provide the best cancer prevention and cancer treatment care for the LGBTQ community.


Quinn, G. P., Sanchez, J. A., Sutton, S. K., Vadaparampil, S. T., Nguyen, G. T., Green, B. L., Kanetsky, P. A. and Schabath, M. B. (2015), Cancer and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) populations. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. doi: 10.3322/caac.21288

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Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. (2015). 7 Cancers May Occur More Frequently In LGBTQ Community MedicalResearch.com

Last Updated on July 30, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD