Gay Men May Have Increased Cancer Prevalence

Lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors have worse self-health perceptions

MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual orientation may affect cancer prevalence and self-health perception, with poor self-reported health perception more likely in lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors, and increased cancer prevalence in gay men, according to a study published online May 9 in Cancer.

Ulrike Boehmer, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed the prevalence of cancer and cancer survivors' self-reported health according to sexual orientation. Data were collected from California Health Interview surveys for the years 2001, 2003, and 2005.

The investigators found that, in women there was no significant variation in cancer prevalence by sexual orientation. However, the odds of lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors reporting fair or poor health were 2.0 and 2.3 times higher, respectively, than that of heterosexual female cancer survivors. There were significant variations in cancer prevalence in men. Gay men had 1.9 times the odds of reporting a cancer diagnosis compared to heterosexual men. Self-reported health in male survivors of cancer did not vary according to sexual orientation.

"Specifically for men, the greatest need is for interventions that target cancer prevention in gay men, given the disparity by sexual orientation in cancer prevalence. Our study indicates for women the greatest need is for interventions that target lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors to improve their health perceptions," the authors write.

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