Information about breast and cervical cancer screenings often leaves out the specific needs of LGBTQ+ people. Pride Center of Vermont has put together this guide so you know if and when these screenings are right for you.
Breast Cancer Screening: Who’s it For?
Everyone is at risk for breast cancer. The three most common risk factors are: being assigned female at birth, age, and family history.
When to Start Getting Screened?
For anyone with breast tissue and average risk, screening is recommended for ages 50 – 74 and people who are aged 40-49 should consult their physician about their risk.
Am I still at risk for breast cancer after top surgery?
The answer is: potentially! If you have had a gender-affirming top surgery (mastectomy), talk with your doctor about your risk for breast cancer and which screening tests might be right for you. It is important to find a doctor who understands the specific health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community. To find an LGBTQ+ safe and affirming doctor, click here.
Cervical Cancer Screening: Who’s it For?
Anyone with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer.
When to Get Screened?
It is recommended that people between the age of 21 and 65 receive a Pap Test every 3 years. People aged 30-65 can receive a test every 5 years with a high-risk HPV test.
Cervical Cancer Screenings While on Testosterone
For people who have a cervix and are taking testosterone, there can be additional barriers to getting these exams. For example, testosterone-induced changes can trigger false positives on a Pap Test. That’s why it’s important to talk with a provider who understands different needs of LGBTQ+ people when accessing cervical health care. To find an LGBTQ+ safe and affirming doctor, click here.
HPV in the LGBTQ+ Community
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the leading cause of cervical cancer. HPV can also cause vaginal, vulval, penial, throat, and anal cancers, as well as genital warts. HPV is transmitted by contact. Risk is therefore present in all LGBTQ+ people who engage in sexual activities.
Regular screening can help to prevent HPV from becoming cancer. Receiving the HPV vaccine can also help to reduce risk of cancer. To learn more about the HPV vaccine, click here.
Can I Access Breast and Cervical Screenings during COVID?
You betcha! You can still make an appointment with your health care provider to get screened. Please follow the health guidelines stated by your health care facility and check out this guide for more information.
Need a reusable mask? Pride Center has you covered! Sign-up for curbside pickup to get your free, reusable mask.
You deserve safe, informed, judgement-free health care! If you’re feeling dysphoric or uncomfortable accessing breast or cervical cancer screenings, we completely understand and are here to help. Reach out to our Health & Wellness Team to find out how we can make accessing health care a safer, more affirming experience.
If you experience a biased or discriminatory interaction with a health care provider and would like to talk with an advocate, our SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program can offer support here.
Pride Center of Vermont partners with You First, a program which offers personalized support to pay for and connect eligible Vermonters to breast, cervical and heart screenings, heart health checkups (blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing), diagnostic tests and heart-healthy lifestyle programs. Members can get free memberships to WW® (Weight Watchers), TOPS® and local gyms, farmers’ market coupons, state park passes and more. Check your eligibility for free health services here or reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss eligibility.
Note: All cancer screening guidelines are based on CDC recommendations.