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Friday, January 26, 2007 Public Service Announcement

For Women Who Love Women
Leaflet on breast and cervical cancer prevention
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

Do women who love women have a greater risk
of developing breast or cervical cancer?

Being lesbian or bisexual does not have a direct influence on the frequency of breast cancer or cervical cancer. However, there are certain risk factors that are unique to women who love women – which explains the importance of informing them of the risks.

Because the problem is particularly unrecognized by the public most concerned, ILGA has decided to disseminate a leaflet in English and Spanish on breast and cervical cancer prevention.

The French and Dutch versions were initially coordinated by ILGA with the Belgian Foundation against Cancer and with the help of Belgian lesbian groups.
Why should you read this brochure?

■ Lesbians and bisexual women fear homophobic reactions, or use contraception less frequently, and therefore are less likely to see medical professionals and often hesitate to talk about their emotional or sexual lives. They are also less likely than other women to undergo screening examinations (mammograms or pap smears) that would allow early detection of possible breast or cervical cancer.

■ Because of social and family pressures, lesbians and bisexual women can sometimes feel depressed and pay less attention to their health.

■ Some studies have shown that lesbians and bisexual women are more reluctant to regularly self-examine their breasts.

■ On average, lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to have children before the age
of 30, which increases the risk of breast cancer.

■ Certain studies indicate that lesbians or bisexual women can occasionally overindulge in alcohol and tobacco. They may also become overweight. This increases the risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer.

Lesbian and bisexual women who do not struggle with these specific risk factors have exactly the same probability of developing cancer as heterosexual women.

Get the leaflet now? (.pdf file)


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