LGBTQI+ People and Cancer
This information will help you understand how cancer and its treatment may affect LGBTQI+ people – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other diverse sexualities and genders, as well as people with intersex variations.
Research shows that as an LGBTQI+ person diagnosed with cancer you may have to deal with a number of unique challenges.
Find answers to common questions, such as do I need to tell my cancer care team that I am LGBTQI+, and what details could I disclose?
A diagnosis of cancer can be difficult for any person to deal with. Research shows that the outcomes of cancer and its treatment can be different for LGBTQI+ people.
Many people worry that they will face discrimination if they tell their health professionals they are LGBTQI+.
Cancer and its treatment can change the way you look. This can affect how you feel about yourself (body image), regardless of sexual orientation, gender and sex characteristics.
Explore our tips for coping with the ways cancer treatment can affect sexual activity and intimacy.
Before starting treatment, it’s important to discuss how cancer treatments may affect your ability to conceive a child or maintain a pregnancy (fertility) and your options for fertility preservation.
We discuss some of the ways being transgender (trans) and/or gender-diverse may affect cancer treatment.
We discuss some of the ways having an intersex variation may affect treatment for cancer.
Advanced cancer is cancer that has spread from the original site or come back. Many LGBTQI+ people worry about receiving palliative and end-of-life care that is safe and meets their needs.
Learn about follow-up care, what happens if the cancer returns, and how to look after your physical and mental health.
Caring can be challenging for everyone but LGBTQI+ carers may face added challenges.
There are many general and LGBTQI+ specific sources of support and information to help you, your chosen family and carers.
- Do you have an LGBTQI+ inclusive policy for patients and staff?
- Have staff had training in meeting the needs of LGBTQI+ people?
- Do you have experience dealing with LGBTQI+ people with cancer?
- How will you keep my personal information confidential?
- Can you amend my records with my gender, pronouns and preferred name?
- Who can I talk to if I am not satisfied with my care?
- I’m thinking of getting a second opinion. Can you recommend anyone?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? How can these be managed?
- How will the treatment affect how I look and how my body works?
- Will the treatment affect my sex life? Can I get support from someone who understands LGBTQI+ sex issues?
- Will the cancer and treatment affect my fertility? What tests can I have to see if my fertility has been affected?
- How can I connect with other LGBTQI+ people affected by cancer?
- What financial and practical assistance is available?
- Where can I get help with advance care planning?
Family and friends
- Will you include my partner/s and family, chosen and biological, in my care?
- Can you help me talk to my family about what is happening?
- Where can my partner/s, children and friends get help and advice?
- Who will I see for follow-up appointments?
- How often will I need check-ups after treatment?
This information was developed with help from LGBTQI+ organisations, health professionals and LGBTQI+ people affected by cancer. It is based on the Out with Cancer study into diverse sexualities, genders and sex characteristics.