The Voices and Experiences of Ethnically Diverse LGBTQ+ Individuals on Cancer Prevention and Screening in Cedars-Sinai Cancer's Catchment Area in Los Angeles.

Authors: Ruiz Vazquez, C., Shirazipour, C., Zaldivar, R. , Herrera, E., Hutchison, H., Barosh, L., Haile, R., Surani, Z.

Category: Behavioral Science & Health Communication
Conference Year: 2020

Abstract Body:
Purpose: To engage diverse LGBTQ+ populations (people of color, non-binary (ENBY), transgender and/or womxn) to: 1) better understand experiences relating to cancer prevention and screening, and 2) obtain feedback on communicating American Cancer Society's (ACS) screening guidelines to LGBTQ+ people. Methods: Three focus groups were conducted with support from our LGBTQ+ Community Advisory Board in August 2019 to identify thoughts, feelings, and experiences of cancer prevention and screening. The first group included 13 trans/non binary individuals; the second group included 14 GBQ men of color, aged 50 and older; and the third group included 10 community outreach organizers who are LGBT identified. To achieve aim 1, a focus group guide was adapted from a melanoma prevention study. To achieve aim 2, ACS screening guidelines were presented to participants for feedback on relevance to LGBTQ+ people. Results: Unmet needs were identified, including very poor knowledge of how cancer impacts this community, types of screening recommended, and where to find LGBTQ+ affirming health care providers. Participants noted that cancer does not receive the same level of publicity within the LGBTQ+ community as other health issues (e.g., HIV, PrEP, STIs, substance use). LGBTQ+ health providers often focus on these noted health issues, resulting in a lack of urgency surrounding cancer and distinct risk factors within the community. In addition, a lack of experienced healthcare providers in LGBTQ+ services was raised as a barrier to patients voicing health concerns. In reviewing the ACS screening guidelines, participants suggested including: 1) biological sex assigned at birth, and 2) current gender identity to promote inclusivity. Simplifying medical language, including visuals, and incorporating technology in the guidelines was also recommended. Conclusion: LGBTQ+ community faces a cancer care system that often lacks cultural sensitivity, with individuals often report delaying needed medical care because of fear of discrimination. Relevant and tailored information on cancer risk, prevention, and cancer screening needs to reach the diversity of LGBTQ+ people and in multiple languages.

Keywords: : LGBTQ+, cancer disparities, focus groups