Cancer and wellness in the lgbtq+ Community

Speak Up For Your Health 2022

November 16, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST

Join the American Cancer Society for a free, educational virtual event featuring experts discussing cancer's impact on the LGBTQ+ community and sharing how you can be your own health advocate.


Click here to watch the 2022 event replay!

Nadini's book recommendations:

  • Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Washington
  • The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde
  • Beyond the Gender Binary & Your Wound, My Garden by Alok Vaid-Menon

2022 Speak up for your health Event

Keynote Speakers:

Also featuring:

Health Care Advocates International, Chief Medical Officer

Lifespan Cancer Institute

Director, Pelvic Malignancies Program and Hematology

Rhode Island Hospital, Director of Medical Oncology

Fenway Health, Reproductive Health Equity Specialist

Cancer & the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately burdened by cancer and face greater obstacles to care because of complex systemic issues, including homophobia, transphobia, and racism.

The American Cancer Society funds $50 million in research to better understand what cancer disparities and inequalities exist, what causes them, and how to decrease them.

Since no cancer registries or surveys consistently collect data on sexual orientation/gender identity, LGBTQ+ individuals remain hidden in the current health data. Even less is known about the health of the transgender community, who face additional stigma and discrimination.

For more information about our American Cancer Society Health Equity work, please visit our Health Equity Page.

Why Your Support Matters

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  • Identifying and understanding issues related to cancer disparities and health equity through research. ACS is funding 61 grants reflecting $48.6 million in health disparities/health equity research.

  • The American Cancer Society is committed to reaching the LGBTQ+ communities. For example, we enrolled more than 12,000 individuals identified as LGBTQ+ in our Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). CPS-3 will allow us to expand our knowledge of how cancer affects the LGBTQ+ community disproportionately and will hopefully lead to increased efforts to reduce tobacco usage and teach healthy habits in the community.

  • LGBTQ+ community cancer impact- The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (2014), indicates the prevalence of current cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals was 23.9%, compared with 16.6% among heterosexual/straight individuals. With all of the science that points to the correlation of tobacco use and many types of cancer – not just lung cancer – LGBTQ+ individuals are significantly more susceptible to a cancer diagnosis than the average person. That’s why we must act now.
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  • Education for the power to choose- in order to make informed decisions about preventing and treating cancer, people need access to the latest information. Over 120 million people were assisted with information on cancer.org

  • Services that support- provided over 135,000 rides to treatment through Road to Recovery. Cancer information specialists assisted over 500,000 people through our helpline.

  • Through our nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, we're fighting cancer in city hall, the statehouse, and Congress. Successfully pushed for a $1.25 billion increase in federal research funding at the NIH and a nearly $120 million increase for the NCI via a bipartisan funding bill.

For more information about the Speak Up For Your Health event please contact michael.duff@cancer.org.

Take Action

Sharing the stories of patients who have experienced barriers to care helps our lawmakers understand why it is critical to protect patients from these unnecessary hardships.

Show your lawmakers that you support an increase in funding for cancer research.