Department of Family & Community Medicine

Patients who identify as transgender less likely to be screened for cancer, study finds

Jan 25, 2019

Patients who identify as transgender are less likely to be screened for cancer, suggests a new study from St. Michael’s Hospital, which also explores how doctors can address the disparity.

The study assessed screening rates for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer among 120 transgender patients eligible for screening and compared these with screening rates among the cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) patient population at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team.

Transgender patients were about 70 per cent less likely to be screened for breast cancer, 60 per cent less likely to be screened for cervical cancer, and 50 per cent less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer – even after accounting for other factors like age and the number of visits to the team.

“Our overall cancer screening rates were improving and if we hadn’t thought to look at this particular patient population we would have been happy with our results,” said Dr. Tara Kiran, a family physician and a researcher at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions of St. Michael’s.

Read the full article on the St. Michael's website.