October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in which the month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection. I found a web site that gives a simple test to calculate your risk of developing breast cancer. Follow this link I found it very informative (even men are at risk for breast cancer and can take this quiz):
So are lesbians at a greater risk of developing breast cancer? Well I found a site on lesbian life and Kathy Belge answers this question for us. She tells us that lesbians as a group do have higher incidence of certain risk factors that are known to be associated with developing breast cancer. These risk factors are:
- alcohol use
- having never birthed a child
In addition to these increased risk factors on the whole there is also the factor that lesbians are less likely to visit a doctor for fear of homophobia or being uncomfortable with answering questions that would have them coming out. Another noted factor is that lesbians are less likely to have health insurance which is partially due to plans not offering domestic partner benefits. The interesting information I found though, according to Dr. Hudson, is that lesbians are less likely to perform self-breast exams. (Belge, 2007) Hmmmm.
Belge, K. (2007) Are Lesbians More at Risk? About.com.: Lesbian Life. Retrieved on October 5, 2007 from http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/healthconcerns/a/brcancer.htm