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Between things like discrimination and a lack of scientific research, navigating the world of healthcare can, where to buy cheap fansidar online pharmacy without prescription unfortunately, be pretty complex if you’re a trans person.

When it comes to something like breast cancer, the most common cancer in the UK, it’s vital that trans people feel informed and welcome at screenings – just like anyone else.

Juliana Kling, M.D. and a physician in the Breast Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, tells us: ‘Transgender people face many disparities, which are largely rooted in experiences of stigma and discrimination.

‘Fear or experience of non-inclusive or discriminatory care can be a barrier to breast cancer screening for transgender people.

‘It is also likely that system issues, such as lack of research or limited guidelines for breast cancer screening in this population, can contribute to difficulty getting appropriate breast cancer screening for transgender people.’

As the Cancer Research UK website clearly states, breast cancer screenings are for anyone who has breasts – due to either naturally-occurring oestrogen or oestrogen hormone therapy.

Dr Harriet Bradley, medical director at the digital healthcare provider Livi, explains: ‘Breast cancer can affect anyone and routine breast cancer screening appointments can help to detect the disease before other signs or symptoms appear.

‘Some trans and non-binary people who have been on long-term hormone therapy can be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

‘Diagnosing breast cancer at the earliest onset increases the chance of treatment being successful and increases the chance of survival – that is why it’s important to attend your screening appointment if you are invited, though attending a screening is always your choice.’

However, not everyone who should have a screening may be invited for theirs.

‘Anyone aged between 50-71 who is registered as female at their GP surgery will automatically be invited for breast screening,’ says Dr Harriet.

‘This includes trans women and non-binary people assigned male at birth who are registered with a GP as female and trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth who are registered with a GP as female.

‘Trans women and non-binary people assigned male at birth who are registered at their GP surgery as male won’t automatically be invited for breast screening, but your GP can arrange a referral for you if you have been on long-term hormone therapy.

‘Trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth who are registered at their GP surgery as male won’t be automatically invited for screening either, but your GP can make a referral for you if you have not had chest reconstruction (top surgery).

‘If you have had top surgery, it can be helpful to chat with your surgeon to find out if you have any breast tissue remaining, in this instance, your GP may also suggest a referral for routine screening.’

Dr Juliana says: ‘It is important for all people with breasts to practice breast awareness and discuss breast cancer screening based on their personal attributes/risk factors with their doctor.

‘Disparities and health outcome gaps exist for many marginalised groups, including transgender people. This raises the importance of proactively engaging these groups through culturally agile and inclusive efforts to assure appropriate breast cancer screening.’

So how can these inclusive efforts be made?

Dr Juliana says: ‘This is such an important question.

‘Using gender-neutral wording on information and forms, allowing opportunities for people to identify their gender identity on intake forms, and assuring correct names and pronouns are used in the clinical setting are important to create an inclusive environment.’

Dr Harriet concurs, explaining: ‘Words matter, especially during a doctor’s appointment. The right language can empower patients to communicate their needs and enable doctors to deliver the right care.

‘It’s important for patients to feel heard and supported. For LGBTQIA+ people, inclusive language in healthcare settings can make a difference in getting the care they need, it helps to build trust between patients and doctors, so they can concentrate on finding the best solutions.’

Dr Harriet’s list of signs and symptoms of breast cancer:

  • A new lump, bumpy area, swelling or thickening in one breast or armpit that’s different to the same area on the other side
  • A change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
  • A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • Nipple discharge (not milky, for example, if you’re breastfeeding)
  • Bleeding from your nipple
  • A rash or redness on or around the nipple area or a sore that doesn’t heal
  • Any change in the position of the nipple – eg: becomes inverted or is pointing differently
  • Any new discomfort or pain in the breast (although pain is a rare symptom of breast cancer)

When asked if there was anything else trans people need to be aware of when it comes to breast cancer, Dr Juliana explains: ‘There are recommendations from medical societies that help guide when transgender women, and transgender men who have not had top surgery, benefit from breast cancer screening.

‘Talk to your doctor about these.’

Dr Harriet says: ‘Some people may feel apprehensive about attending a screening, but please don’t let this deter you from attending.

‘If you have any concerns or questions ahead of your screening, you can chat with your GP or phone the clinic.

‘They will be able to give any specific preparation advice and explain the waiting room environment, for example. You can also discuss the options of arranging an appointment to better suit you, such as requesting to go at the beginning or the end of the clinic, and you may wish for a partner or friend to attend the screening with you.

‘Since breast cancer can affect anyone, regardless of gender, it’s important for everyone to regularly check for any signs or symptoms that could indicate breast cancer.

‘If you have any concerns, don’t delay speaking to your doctor, remember they are there to help you.’

A Million Missed Mammograms

After being diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram in November, Dawn Butler MP was grateful to find out it was caught early.

However, she learned that a million women missed out on their mammograms due to the pandemic, with an estimated 10,000 currently living with undetected breast cancer.

Determined to change that, Dawn has launched a campaign with Metro.co.uk to get a million women to book their missed screenings.

If you have been inspired to do so after hearing Dawn’s story, please let her know on her website, emailing us or using #FindTheMillion on social media.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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