Regardless of how you identify, it is essential to be aware of your health needs and priorities. During LGBTQ+ Health Awareness week, we’re clearing up a few of the many complex health misconceptions facing the LGBTQ+ community.
An accurate understanding of your health, how to take care of it, and the appropriate preventative measures are vital to living a healthy life. Take a look below at just five of the many misconceptions we see at Woman’s:
Misconception: I don’t need to get a mammogram.
Reality: Lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to develop breast cancer than heterosexual women. Traditionally, lesbians and bisexual women have been less likely to bear children and, as a result, may not fully benefit from hormones released during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Still, they are less likely to obtain regular cancer screenings, like mammograms. These screenings aid in diagnosing the condition in its early stages, which is key to increasing the chances of remission.
Misconception: I’m a transgender man (FTM) who has had gender-affirming surgery. I can’t get breast cancer.
Reality: Transgender men (FTM) who undergo top surgery (the procedure to remove breast tissue) are still susceptible to breast cancer and should continue to get recommended cancer screenings.
Misconception: I don’t have sex with a male. I don’t need to get an annual Pap smear.
Reality: Lesbian and bisexual women are at an increased risk of developing certain gynecological cancers. However, they are also less likely to receive regular gynecologic healthcare, including Pap tests. These exams diagnose cancers and other conditions early when treatment has the highest success rate.
Misconception: I’m a transgender woman (MTF) who takes estrogen supplements. I can’t get a female pregnant.
Reality: Estrogen hormones do not suppress the creation or release of sperm and are not a form of birth control for transgender women.
Misconception: I’m a transgender man (FTM) who takes testosterone supplements. I can’t get pregnant.
Reality: Taking testosterone does not suppress the ability to get pregnant and is not an effective form of birth control.
Regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, you have the right to receive adequate health care. Get to know your health and ask a healthcare provider if you have questions. If you would like to schedule a screening, please visit https://www.womans.org/physician-directory to find the best doctor for your care.