Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (trans) and queer (LGBTQ) people live in every community in Ontario. And LGBTQ people need cancer screening services in every community in Ontario.
Studies show, however, that LGBTQ populations have lower screening rates for colon, breast and cervical cancer than the general population, mainly due to barriers related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.
Healthcare providers can do a great deal to eliminate these barriers by creating a welcoming, culturally competent, sensitive and educated environment for LGBTQ clients and their families. This requires:
Learn these skills by taking our Mainpro-M2 accredited training on LGBTQ cancer screening for LGBTQ communities.
As a healthcare provider in Ontario, you already have LGBTQ clients, whether or not they have disclosed this information to you. One of the single most important things you can do to maximize the quality of their health is to create an openly supportive environment where your LGBTQ clients can come out safely and receive care and screening that meets their individual and community needs. Making even small changes in your practice, office, policies and staff training can have a significant and positive impact.
This section of the website provides information and suggestions for improving access to healthcare and cancer screening for LGBTQ clients and, by extension, for everyone in Ontario.
Screening saves lives!
On this website, we use the term “LGBTQ,” while acknowledging that people use many words to describe sexual orientation and gender identity, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, or third-gender, among others. These terms, as well as thinking and attitudes towards sexual orientation and gender identity, change continuously, within society as a whole and within LGBTQ communities. These definitions are not standardized and may be used differently by different people in different regions, countries and cultures. As a healthcare practitioner, tune into and use the words your clients use to describe themselves or their behaviours. The screening information in this section has been compiled by the Canadian Cancer Society’s Policy and Research team using available research literature. We would like to acknowledge and thank our expert content advisors: Dr. Ed Kucharski, Staff Physician; Dr. Amy Bourns, Staff Physician; and Emery Potter, RN, at the Sherbourne Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario.