Sexual orientation linked to cancer survival

Researchers have dug up some disturbing news for the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities in what scientists are calling the largest state health survey conducted in the United States. Gay men have a higher prevalence of cancer compared with heterosexual men, and lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors report lower levels of health than heterosexual female cancer survivors.

In a study published in the journal Cancer, a total of 7,252 women and 3,690 men reported a cancer diagnosis as adults. While there was no significant differences in cancer prevalence by sexual orientation among women, lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors were 2.0 and 2.3 times more likely to report fair or poor health compared with heterosexual female cancer survivors. Gay men were 1.9 times as likely to report a cancer diagnosis than heterosexual men.

"This information can be used for the development of services for the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population," researcher Ulrike Boehmer said in a statement. "Because more gay men report as cancer survivors, we need foremost programs for gay men that focus on primary cancer prevention and early cancer detection. Because more lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual women with cancer report that they are in poor health, we need foremost programs and services that improve the well-being of lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors."

He cautions, though, that more study is needed to determine why these discrepancies exist.

- read the release
- and read the abstract in the journal Cancer