Lesbians and Cancer
Did you know that the viruses causing cervical cancer can be sexually transmitted between women? And that higher rates of excessive alcohol use, consumption of high-fat, low-fiber diets, and obesity all increase the risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer? In fact, lesbians have a greater risk of cancer than you might think … but there are things you can do to decrease your risk and improve your chances.
How to Beat the Odds:
- Know your family history.
- Get an annual pelvic exam and regular Pap test.
- Come out to your healthcare provider.
- If you are experiencing any symptoms or changes in your body, see your healthcare provider.
- Have regular mammograms (age 40–50, every two years; annually thereafter; more often if your provider recommends it or if have a family history of breast abnormalities.)
- Perform breast self-exams every month; have an annual exam by your health care provider every year.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink fewer than four alcoholic drinks per week.
- Exercise more than 4.5 hours per week.
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
- Quit smoking. For information on how to quit, click here.
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.
The Ovarian Cancer Outreach and Education Project is an awareness and prevention initiative led by The Center. Educational messages are presented in informal social settings.