The invisibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the majority of cancer and health data is a significant barrier in addressing our population’s health, as is the often unwelcoming care LGBT receive in the health system. Until health care facilities and providers become knowledgeable about and respectful of LGBT individuals, even free screening services will continue to be underutilized and members of our community will continue to be at higher risk of having our cancer detected at a later stage, when it is more difficult to treat.
We founded The National LGBT Cancer Network in 2006 to help LGBT cancer survivors, and those at risk. Our mission is to:
- Train health care providers to offer more culturally sensitive, safe, and welcoming care to LGBT patients;
- Educate the LGBT community about our increased cancer risks and the importance of screening/early detection; and
- Advocate for LGBT inclusion in national cancer organizations, research, and media
The LGBT Cancer Network helps health care facilities and cancer organizations implement culturally-sensitive care and advocates for the funding necessary to get answers about cancer in the LGBT population. Thankfully, we are not alone in our work. There are many, many committed individuals and organizations working on those issues with us. It will take all of us to make a difference in the lives of LGBT people with cancer and those at risk.