Some of the cancers that most often affect women are breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin, and ovarian cancers. Lesbian and bisexual women may be at increased risk for breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer compared to heterosexual women. Knowing about these cancers and what you can do to help prevent them or finding them early (when the cancer is small, has not spread, and might be easier to treat) may help save your life.
Studies suggest that some lesbian and bisexual women get less routine health care than other women, including breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screening tests. Some of the reasons for this include:
- Fear of discrimination: Some women don’t tell their health care providers about their sexual orientation, because they don’t want discrimination to affect the quality of health care they receive. This can make it harder to have a comfortable relationship with a provider.
- Low rates of health insurance: Some health insurance policies don’t cover unmarried partners. This makes it harder for many lesbian and bisexual women to get quality health care.
- Negative experiences with health care providers: Fear of having a negative experience with a health care provider can lead some women to delay or avoid medical care, especially routine care such as early detection tests. Missing routine cancer screening tests can lead to cancer being diagnosed at a later stage, when it’s sometimes harder to treat.