The LGBTQ+ community experiences cancer disparities due to increased risk factors and lower screening rates, attributable to health literacy gaps and systemic barriers. We sought to understand the experiences, perceptions, and knowledge base of healthcare providers regarding cancer screening for LGBTQ+ patients. A 20-item IRB-approved survey was distributed to physicians through professional organizations. The survey assessed experiences and education regarding the LGBTQ+ community and perceptions of patient concerns with different cancer screenings on a 5-point Likert scale. Complete responses were collected from 355 providers. Only 100 (28%) reported past LGBTQ+-related training and were more likely to be female (p = 0.020), have under ten years of practice (p = 0.014), or practice family/internal medicine (p < 0.001). Most (85%) recognized that LGBTQ+ subpopulations experience nuanced health issues, but only 46% confidently understood them, and 71% agreed their clinics would benefit from training. Family/internal medicine practitioners affirmed the clinical relevance of patients’ sexual orientation (94%; 62% for medical/radiation oncology). Prior training affected belief in the importance of sexual orientation (p < 0.001), confidence in understanding LGBTQ+ health concerns (p < 0.001), and willingness to be listed as “LGBTQ+-friendly” (p = 0.005). Our study suggests that despite a paucity of formal training, most providers acknowledge that LGBTQ+ patients have unique health needs. Respondents had a lack of consensus regarding cancer screenings for lesbian and transgender patients, indicating the need for clearer screening standards for LGBTQ+ subpopulations and educational programs for providers.
Nelson, Nicolas; Lombardo, Joseph F.; Shimada, Ayako; Ruggiero, Marissa L.; Smith, Alexandria P.; Ko, Kevin; Leader, Amy E.; Mitchell, Edith P.; and Simone, Nicole L., "Physician Perceptions on Cancer Screening for LGBTQ+ Patients" (2023). Department of Radiation Oncology Faculty Papers. Paper 176.
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