According to a new study, sexual minority people whose sexual orientation differs from societal standards were less likely than heterosexual peers to have undertaken cervical cancer screening tests.
The study’s findings were published in the journal “Cancer.” Regular Pap tests are suggested for women aged 21 to 65 who have a cervix in order to detect cervical cancer in its premalignant or early phases, when therapies are most successful.
There are several hurdles to cervical cancer screening, including insufficient patient-provider communication; confidence in medical practitioners; fear of prejudice at the clinic; and the assumption that Pap testing is not effective.
The researchers examined cervical cancer screening disparities related to individuals’ self-defined sexual minority status and race/ethnicity using data from the National Health Interview Survey, an interview-based programme that collects information from U.S. households on a wide range of health topics.
When compared to heterosexuals, sexual minorities had a 46% lower chance of ever having Pap tests.When the interaction of sexual orientation and race/ethnicity was taken into account, white sexual minority participants and Hispanic sexual minority participants had a lower likelihood of ever having Pap tests than white heterosexual individuals.
There were no significant differences between white heterosexual individuals and black or Hispanic heterosexual participants.
“This study emphasises the need to investigate inequities at the junction of many societally produced identities.” More work is required to reduce inequities, and future efforts should include measurements of systemic discrimination. “Allina Health, a not-for-profit health care organisation located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, stated lead author Ashley E. Stenzel, PhD.
The accompanying editorial states that patient education and provider communication campaigns may assist in enhancing screening rates and that cultural adaptation of treatments is required to eliminate current inequities.