September 19, 2022
2 minutes of reading
Burnett C, et al. Overall satisfaction with cancer care among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex survivors. Presented at: American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; September 16-19, 2022; Philadelphia.
A grant from the Massachusetts Medical Society LGBTQ Health Disparities funded the study. Burnett reported no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the abstract for the relevant financial disclosures of all other researchers.
Although the majority of LGBTQI+ cancer survivors reported satisfaction with their overall cancer care, most reported that they did not have access to personalized health education materials, according to the survey results.
The findings, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Racial/Ethnic Minority Cancer Health Care Disparities and Undertreatment, specifically showed that 70% of respondents reported lack of access to any mental health resource specific to their LGBTQI+ identity during their cancer care.
Research is scarce on LGBTQI+ people with cancer, Colin Burnett, MSc, medical student at the TH Chan School of Medicine at UMass Chan Medical School, told Healio.
“Specifically, as we advance our knowledge of cancer therapeutics and the population of LGBTQI+ cancer survivors grows, it is increasingly important for medical providers to gain insight into the experiences of LGBTQI+ people with cancer and the ways in which their experiences differs from that of other populations,” he said.
The study included 2,500 LGBTQI+ cancer survivors who, between 2020 and 2021, completed the OUT: National Cancer Survey, which ranks survivors according to their self-reported level of satisfaction with their overall cancer care.
Burnett and colleagues assessed patient satisfaction with care related to access to LGBTQI+-friendly health education resources and the impact of gender identity and/or sexual orientation on survivors’ experiences before, during, and after cancer treatment.
The results showed that 92% of respondents expressed satisfaction with their cancer care.
Among the 3% of respondents who reported feeling unsafe sharing their LGBTQI+ identity with health care providers, 38% were less than satisfied with their cancer care versus 3% who reported being feel safe sharing their identity, according to a press release.
Researchers found that despite high levels of satisfaction with their overall cancer care, 70% of cancer survivors reported a lack of access to at least one vital health education resource specific to their LGBTQI+ identity, and 56% reported a desire for information. specific to LGBTQI+ individuals in aftercare plans, according to the release.
“Very few LGBTQI+ cancer survivors reported ever accessing health education materials relevant to their LGBTQI+ identity, particularly in the areas of physical activity, mental health, alcohol use and smoking cessation, whether they were satisfied with their overall cancer care,” Burnett said.
The researchers hope to better characterize some of the more specific experiences of LGBTQI+ individuals during cancer treatment and survivorship, Burnett said.
“We want to understand what contributes to patients’ willingness to share their LGBTQI+ identity with providers and what they want to see providers do with that information to better contextualize the cancer care they receive,” he said. “Oncologists should be encouraged to work with their institutions to develop educational health resources specific to LGBTQI+ patients. My research focuses on the accessibility of specific health topics for LGBTQI+ cancer survivors, but having more resources specifically tailored to the experiences shared by LGBTQI+ patients in each area can help patients feel that their sexual orientation and/or or gender identity are taken into account when providing care. With more resources illustrating LGBTQI+ people and their needs, these patients will hopefully feel more visible among their provider teams.”