According to a study released at the 11th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research and carried out by researcher Kathleen Tracy of the University of Maryland School of Medicine 38% of 1,000 lesbians she surveyed did not receive cervival pap smears, a test which looks for abnormal or precancerous cells on the cervix.
This rate is nearly 3 times higher the rates of women not screening within the general population. Only 13% of women in the general population do not get screened for cervical cancer.
According to the study two of the reasons why women did not get screened for cervicacl cancer include not have a primary care provider or gynecologist to recommend the screening OR their provider did not recommend it.
If you have not been screened because you have no provider, we encourage you explore providers in our resource directory.
If your doctor has not recommended one for you because they do not think it is necessary, we recommend asking them to refer you for a cervical pap smear. You may want to use the Gay & Lesbian Medical Associations Top Ten List for Lesbian & Bisexual Women as a talking point. If you are not out to your doctor or comfortable being out to your doctor, then you may want to come out to him or her. However, if that does not feel safe, you may want to explore finding an affirming provider. In this study and other studies having a LGBT affirming provider was linked to more positive health outcomes, including higher rates of cervical cancer screenings.
Also, if you cannot afford a cervical cancer screening because you are uninsured or underinsured, reach out to the Monroe County Cancer Services Program which pays for pelvica exams and pap tests, clinical breast exams, mammograms and colon cancer screenings for adult men and women ages 40-60 years old.
Contact information for the Monroe County Cancer Services Program: (585) 224-3070.