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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2002 Jan-Feb;29(1):E1-7.

Risk factors for ovarian cancer: lesbian and heterosexual women.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Health and Aging in the School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. sdibble@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To compare the distribution of risk factors for developing ovarian cancer in lesbian and heterosexual women.

DESIGN:

Secondary analysis of a retrospective medical record review.

SETTING:

Urban health clinic with special outreach to lesbians.

SAMPLE:

Typical participant (N = 1,019) was 42.9 years old and white (70%). Most were without health insurance, and 99% were poor (< $15,780 annual income). The majority (58%, n = 586) described themselves as heterosexual; 42% (n = 433) said they were lesbian.

METHODS:

Data were collected from medical records and analyzed using analysis of covariance and logistic regression techniques.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES:

Ovarian cancer risk factors (parity, exogenous hormone use, smoking, body mass index [BMI], and tubal ligation/hysterectomy).

FINDINGS:

Lesbians had a higher BMI; heterosexual women had higher rates of current smoking and a higher incidence of the protective factors of pregnancy, children, miscarriages, abortions, and use of birth control pills.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study indicate that lesbians may have an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer. A study designed specifically to explore the risk factors of lesbian and heterosexual women for developing ovarian cancer must be undertaken to confirm these findings.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE:

Differences in risk levels may exist for lesbians; therefore, healthcare providers must become comfortable asking questions about sexual orientation and behavior.

PMID:
11845216
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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