Austin SB, Pazaris MJ, Nichols LP, Bowen D, Wei EK, and Spiegelman D
Cancer causes & control : CCC [Cancer Causes Control] 2013 Mar; Vol. 24 (3), pp. 539-47. Date of Electronic Publication: 2012 May 22.
Adult, Bisexuality ethnology, Bisexuality statistics numerical data, Breast Neoplasms diagnosis, Breast Neoplasms diagnostic imaging, Breast Neoplasms ethnology, Colonoscopy, Colorectal Neoplasms diagnosis, Colorectal Neoplasms diagnostic imaging, Colorectal Neoplasms ethnology, Female, Heterosexuality ethnology, Heterosexuality statistics numerical data, Homosexuality, Female ethnology, Homosexuality, Female statistics numerical data, Humans, Mammography methods, Mass Screening, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Sexual Behavior ethnology, United States epidemiology, Breast Neoplasms epidemiology, Colorectal Neoplasms epidemiology, Mammography statistics numerical data, and Sexual Behavior statistics numerical data
Purpose: Underutilization of cancer screening has been found especially to affect socially marginalized groups. We investigated sexual orientation group patterns in breast and colorectal cancer screening adherence. Methods: Data on breast and colorectal cancer screening, sexual orientation, and sociodemographics were gathered prospectively from 1989 through 2005 from 85,759 U.S. women in the Nurses' Health Study II. Publicly available data on state-level healthcare quality and sexual-orientation-related legal protections were also gathered. Multivariable models were used to estimate sexual orientation group differences in breast and colorectal cancer screening, controlling for sociodemographics and state-level healthcare quality and legal protections for sexual minorities. Results: Receipt of a mammogram in the past 2 years was common though not universal and differed only slightly by sexual orientation: heterosexual 84 %, bisexual 79 %, and lesbian 82 %. Fewer than half of eligible women had ever received a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, and rates did not differ by sexual orientation: heterosexual 39 %, bisexual 39 %, and lesbian 42 %. In fully adjusted models, state-level healthcare quality score, though not state-level legal protections for sexual minorities, was positively associated with likelihood of being screened for all women regardless of sexual orientation. Conclusions: Concerns have been raised that unequal healthcare access for sexual orientation minorities may adversely affect cancer screening. We found small disparities in mammography and none in colorectal screening, though adherence to colorectal screening recommendations was uniformly very low. Interventions are needed to increase screening in women of all sexual orientation groups, particularly in areas with poor healthcare policies.