Screening rates for colon, breast and cervical cancers lower among LGBTQ communities
TORONTO, June 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society is reaching out to Toronto's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities during Pride Week in Toronto with the message that screening saves lives.
The Society will host an interactive booth at the Pride Toronto festival on June 29 and 30 and talk to festival goers about the importance of cancer screening. The initiative includes a new website at cancer.ca/getscreened.
"LGBTQ communities are much less likely to be regularly screened for colon, breast and cervical cancers, putting them at greater risk of dying from cancer," says Susan Flynn, Manager, Screening Saves Lives, Canadian Cancer Society. "That's why we're at Pride this week to provide information and encourage LGBTQ individuals to talk to their doctor about getting screened."
The outreach initiative is part of the Canadian Cancer Society's Screening Saves Lives program, which aims to increase cancer screening rates in hard to reach communities and also currently works with First Nations and South Asian communities. The new health promotion campaign targets LGBTQ communities in Toronto and later this summer in Hamilton, Ottawa and is supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Screening Saves Lives recruits volunteer health ambassadors from target communities and trains them to deliver cancer screening messages and guidelines. The trained health ambassadors then identify opportunities to share screening messages with friends, family and other members of their social networks.
"This type of program works because, as health ambassadors are trusted members of the community, they can communicate with peers in a way that large organizations often can't," says Flynn. "Health ambassadors are able to change the attitudes of their peers by using appropriate language, sharing personal stories and experiences and by building trust and personal relationships."
The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on members of LGBTQ communities who want to get involved in promoting the importance of screening to their communities to apply to be a volunteer health ambassador. Find out more at cancer.ca/getscreened.
- Bisexual women are significantly less likely to get a mammogram. The Canadian Community Health Survey found that only 49% of bisexual women aged 50-59 have had a mammogram in the past two years compared to 71% of heterosexual women.
- The LGBTQ population in Canada faces significant barriers to achieving health because their health needs are poorly understood and because health care institutions may not be inclusive or welcoming to them.
- LGBTQ communities experience multiple risk factors for developing cancer, such as higher smoking rates, being less likely to have a family doctor and stress from discrimination.
- Cancer screening can save lives. For example, colon cancer is 90% curable if caught early.
The Canadian Cancer Society encourages LGBTQ individuals to find out more about getting screened for colon, breast and cervical cancers by visiting cancer.ca/getscreened.
About the Canadian Cancer Society
For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY: 1-866-786-3934).
Image with caption: "Canadian Cancer Society new cancer prevention initiative targets LGBTQ communities. More at cancer.ca/getscreened. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130628_C4239_PHOTO_EN_28638.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)
For further information:
Senior Coordinator, Public Affairs
Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division
On site, June 29-30:
Manager, Screening Saves Lives
Canadian Cancer Society