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Tag Archives: liz margolies

Clinical Oncologists Lead the Movement to Improve Cancer Care for LGBT People

LizMargolies2by Liz Margolies, LCSW, Founder/Executive Director National LGBT Cancer Network

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cancer patients (and those who love them) experience extra challenges after diagnosis and continuing many years post treatment. There is research to show that LGBT cancer survivors report lower satisfaction with their cancer care than heterosexual survivors and these differences extend to their quality of life following treatment.  Lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors are over twice as likely to report fair or poor health post treatment, compared to heterosexual female survivors. Gay, bisexual and transgender men have more psychological distress after surviving cancer than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. These studies are published but not well known, reflecting the invisibility of LGBT people within the healthcare system.  Last week, a huge change occurred in LGBT visibility and a professional commitment to address these health disparities: the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) released a position paper, calling out the impact of discrimination on LGBT people in society and within the healthcare system. More important than simply listing the additional difficulties LGBT cancer survivors face, the position paper recommends multiple actions that will correct the problems, with a focus on those that oncologists can take the lead in bringing about.  ASCO Issues Recommendations for Reducing Cancer Disparities among Sexual and Gender Minority Populations

 

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Benny’s World

Benny1by Liz Margolies, LCSW
Executive Director, National LGBT Cancer Network

Benny P. is a 45-year old Mexican American gay man who lives in Austin, Texas.  In September, Benny was diagnosed with anal cancer, his sixth cancer diagnosis since 2002. He has been treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (three times), squamous cell carcinoma on his vocal cords and skin cancer.  This is the first time, however, that his treatment will require all of the “big three”: surgery, radiation and chemo. I wondered what and who helps Benny keep his spirits up throughout this ordeal.  I also wondered if being gay shapes his cancer experience at all.

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Cancer Network for LGBT Community

CancerNetworkLGBT

by Liz Margolies, LCSW
Executive Director, National LGBT Cancer Network

 

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, as everyone likes to remind us, but the healthcare system that treats cancer patients often does. In addition, the stress and stigma experienced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people often leads to unhealthy behaviors that increase their risk for cancer, like smoking. LGBT people use tobacco at nearly twice the national average. Because of these increased cancer risks, coupled with decreased screening rates and challenges in cancer survivorship, I started the National LGBT Cancer Network 8 years ago.

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