Leave your risk of cancer behind you
Alright, we’ll come out with it. High rates of smoking, excessive drinking, and HIV—all increase the risk of an array of cancers, including lung, anal and liver cancer. There are also the potential cancer risks posed by transgender hormone use—a situation which is complicated by the fact that many transgender people obtain their hormones without a prescription and use varying, and sometimes excessive dosages.
Transgender people also face tremendous barriers to quality healthcare, including frequent discrimination by healthcare providers, many of whom also lack information about transgender bodies and health care needs. Furthermore, research on the cancer risks and experiences of transgender people is scant, at best.
Okay, so that’s not great news to share, but perhaps it’s not surprising. Living in a society that’s not always GLBT-friendly can cause stress, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety—all of which can also contribute, either directly or indirectly, to our increased risk of cancer. But there’s good news, too. Because there are things you can do to protect yourself.
First things first—get informed and take action. The Center is here to help with programs and activities designed to give you the information you need. The most important step you can take to avoid cancer is to go to the doctor for regular screenings.
Looking for a new healthcare provider? The Center’s database of providers, Link, includes multiple entries for culturally competent physicians. If you want a new doctor, The Center can link you to the best provider for you.
How to beat the odds.
- Know your family history.
- Get a preventative physical every year.
- Come out to your healthcare provider. After all, the more your doctor knows about you, the better the questions he or she can ask. (They’re on your side.)
- Ask your healthcare provider for screenings that would be appropriate for you.
- If you are experiencing any symptoms or changes in your body, see your healthcare provider.
- Quit smoking. For information on how to quit, click here (link to SmokeFree GLBT section of site.)
- Maintain a healthy weight.
For more information on cancer, click here to visit the American Cancer Society’s Web site.