At Greater Risk for Some Cancers?

Lesbians May Be at Greater Risk for Some Cancers

Lesbian and bisexual women may be at higher risks for some cancers because of a number of risk factors and because they may miss out on cancer screenings in a system geared towards heterosexual women, study results suggest.

According to the report in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health, journal of the American Public Health Association, lesbians and bisexual women were less likely to have health insurance and to have had a pelvic exam or mammogram--important cancer screening exams--within the past year, compared with women in general. Lesbian and bisexual women also have higher rates of smoking, alcohol use and obesity, which may put them at increased risk for certain cancers and chronic diseases, the report indicates.

``We show that as a group, lesbians tend to have a cluster of risk factors for negative health outcomes,'' Dr. Susan D. Cochran, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health. ``Healthcare for women is organized around contraceptive needs, which bring women periodically into the health system. But lesbians typically don't have contraceptive needs,'' said Cochran, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study of more than 11,800 lesbian and bisexual women in the US found that the rate of obesity was significantly higher than would be expected, based on a national sample of women. About 28% of the lesbians and bisexual women were obese.

Thanks to Reuters Health

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