• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 2001 April; 91(4): 591–597.
PMCID: PMC1446636

Cancer-related risk indicators and preventive screening behaviors among lesbians and bisexual women.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study examined whether lesbians are at increased risk for certain cancers as a result of an accumulation of behavioral risk factors and difficulties in accessing health care. METHODS: Prevalence estimates of behavioral risk factors (nulliparity, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use), cancer screening behaviors, and self-reported breast cancer histories derived from 7 independently conducted surveys of lesbians/bisexual women (n = 11,876) were compared with national estimates for women. RESULTS: In comparison with adjusted estimates for the US female population, lesbians/bisexual women exhibited greater prevalence rates of obesity, alcohol use, and tobacco use and lower rates of parity and birth control pill use. These women were also less likely to have health insurance coverage or to have had a recent pelvic examination or mammogram. Self-reported histories of breast cancer, however, did not differ from adjusted US female population estimates. CONCLUSIONS: Lesbians and bisexual women differ from heterosexual women in patterns of health risk. These women would be expected to be at especially greater risk for chronic diseases linked to smoking and obesity.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (104K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Carroll NM. Optimal gynecologic and obstetric care for lesbians. Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Apr;93(4):611–613. [PubMed]
  • Deevey S. Older lesbian women. An invisible minority. J Gerontol Nurs. 1990 May;16(5):35–39. [PubMed]
  • McKirnan DJ, Peterson PL. Alcohol and drug use among homosexual men and women: epidemiology and population characteristics. Addict Behav. 1989;14(5):545–553. [PubMed]
  • Cochran SD, Keenan C, Schober C, Mays VM. Estimates of alcohol use and clinical treatment needs among homosexually active men and women in the U.S. population. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Dec;68(6):1062–1071. [PubMed]
  • Cochran SD, Mays VM. Relation between psychiatric syndromes and behaviorally defined sexual orientation in a sample of the US population. Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Mar 1;151(5):516–523. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rankow EJ, Tessaro I. Cervical cancer risk and Papanicolaou screening in a sample of lesbian and bisexual women. J Fam Pract. 1998 Aug;47(2):139–143. [PubMed]
  • White JC, Dull VT. Health risk factors and health-seeking behavior in lesbians. J Womens Health. 1997 Feb;6(1):103–112. [PubMed]
  • Miller AB. An epidemiological perspective on cancer screening. Clin Biochem. 1995 Feb;28(1):41–48. [PubMed]
  • Stevens PE, Hall JM. Stigma, health beliefs and experiences with health care in lesbian women. Image J Nurs Sch. 1988 Summer;20(2):69–73. [PubMed]
  • Trippet SE, Bain J. Reasons American lesbians fail to seek traditional health care. Health Care Women Int. 1992 Apr-Jun;13(2):145–153. [PubMed]
  • Price JH, Easton AN, Telljohann SK, Wallace PB. Perceptions of cervical cancer and Pap smear screening behavior by women's sexual orientation. J Community Health. 1996 Apr;21(2):89–105. [PubMed]
  • Bradford J, Ryan C, Rothblum ED. National Lesbian Health Care Survey: implications for mental health care. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994 Apr;62(2):228–242. [PubMed]
  • Welch S, Howden-Chapman P, Collings SC. Survey of drug and alcohol use by lesbian women in New Zealand. Addict Behav. 1998 Jul-Aug;23(4):543–548. [PubMed]
  • Trippet SE, Bain J. Physical health problems and concerns of lesbians. Women Health. 1993;20(2):59–70. [PubMed]
  • Cochran SD, Mays VM. Depressive distress among homosexually active African American men and women. Am J Psychiatry. 1994 Apr;151(4):524–529. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Roberts SJ, Sorensen L. Health related behaviors and cancer screening of lesbians: results from the Boston Lesbian Health Project. Women Health. 1999;28(4):1–12. [PubMed]
  • Sorensen L, Roberts SJ. Lesbian uses of and satisfaction with mental health services: results from Boston Lesbian Health Project. J Homosex. 1997;33(1):35–49. [PubMed]
  • Siegel PZ, Waller MN, Frazier EL, Mariolis P. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: summary of data for 1991. MMWR CDC Surveill Summ. 1993 Aug 27;42(4):23–30. [PubMed]
  • Mettler FA, Upton AC, Kelsey CA, Ashby RN, Rosenberg RD, Linver MN. Benefits versus risks from mammography: a critical reassessment. Cancer. 1996 Mar 1;77(5):903–909. [PubMed]
  • Kohlmeier L, Mendez M. Controversies surrounding diet and breast cancer. Proc Nutr Soc. 1997 Mar;56(1B):369–382. [PubMed]
  • Broeders MJ, Verbeek AL. Breast cancer epidemiology and risk factors. Q J Nucl Med. 1997 Sep;41(3):179–188. [PubMed]
  • Hill HA, Austin H. Nutrition and endometrial cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 1996 Jan;7(1):19–32. [PubMed]
  • La Vecchia C, Tavani A, Franceschi S, Parazzini F. Oral contraceptives and cancer. A review of the evidence. Drug Saf. 1996 Apr;14(4):260–272. [PubMed]
  • Lauver DR, Karon SL, Egan J, Jacobson M, Nugent J, Settersten L, Shaw V. Understanding lesbians' mammography utilization. Womens Health Issues. 1999 Sep-Oct;9(5):264–274. [PubMed]
  • Longnecker MP. Alcohol consumption and risk of cancer in humans: an overview. Alcohol. 1995 Mar-Apr;12(2):87–96. [PubMed]
  • Shopland DR. Tobacco use and its contribution to early cancer mortality with a special emphasis on cigarette smoking. Environ Health Perspect. 1995 Nov;103 (Suppl 8):131–142. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ferris DG, Batish S, Wright TC, Cushing C, Scott EH. A neglected lesbian health concern: cervical neoplasia. J Fam Pract. 1996 Dec;43(6):581–584. [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...