On November 8, ASCO released a video that provides an overview of the recommendations the Society put forward in a policy statement published April 3, for addressing the needs of sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations as they relate to cancer.
The video, narrated by Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, chair of ASCO’s Health Disparities Committee and associate professor of radiation oncology at Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center, was created to highlight the challenges facing the SGM community and concrete steps that can help minimize health disparities among SGM individuals.
SGM individuals face unique challenges related to cancer risk, discrimination, and other psychocosial issues, such as anxiety and depression, which can result in disparate care. As the statement notes, SGM populations bear a disproportionate cancer burden stemming from several factors, including:
- Lower rates of cancer screening, in part due to lower rates of insurance coverage, exclusion from traditional screening campaigns, and previous experience of discrimination in the health care system
- A hesitancy on the part of SGM patients to disclose their sexual orientation to providers due to a fear of stigmatization, which can create additional barriers to care.
The video encourages cancer care providers to be unafraid to address the challenges SGM individuals may be facing to ensure they are providing the same opportunity to survive cancer to all populations.
Additional resources related to this statement can be found on ASCO’s patient information website, Cancer.Net, on the “Health Disparities Resources” page. Additionally, Cancer.Net has an “Expert Q&A: Cancer-Related Health Disparities” interview with Dr. Winkfield, as well as a blog post written by Dr. Griggs about this position statement.