About Lesbians and Cancer

By Arthur Washington,2014-06-15 16:51
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About Lesbians and Cancerand,About,about

    Coming Out

    About Lesbians and Cancer

“There‟s actually a title that

    says, Lesbians and Cancer I

    could not believe it when I saw

    that those two words actually

    existed in the same sentence. I

    mean seriously, that‟s the first

    time I‟ve ever seen it, you


~ Sarah (research participant)

    Research Report

    The Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project

    June 2004


Table of Contents



     The evolution, focus and values of this report

    Report summary

     The lesbians who shared their stories

     Demographic information about the research participants

    Lesbians and Cancer: Coming Out Again


     Lesbians with cancer „better off‟ in terms of support?

     Support in lesbian communities: the challenge of fear

     Isolation during cancer

Fallout from treatment

     Hair loss

     Loss of physical strength

     Breast loss


Partnerships and Dating

     Feeling „less than a wanted person‟

     Vulnerability and inequality in partnerships

Families and finances

     Lesbian families

     Families of origin


Cancer Care

     Lesbian positive care ?

Heterosexism in cancer care

     Pink and blue coloured glasses

    ; The possibility that she‟s a lesbian not considered

    ; Lesbian identity, needs, culture and social context not taken into account

    ; Lesbian identity and social context ignored and dismissed

    Lesbians targeted, and denied standard care

    Lesbian families and partnerships: outside the cancer care box

    Heterosexism and patient self-advocacy

    Cancer support services: no place for lesbians?

    The fallout from heterosexism

    Getting good care, and avoiding bad care

     Screening for homophobia


     Being out, and not being out

     Looking for lesbian health professionals

     Taking partners and friends along

     More about being out, and not being out, in the cancer care system

     Alternative treatments

    „I never got a hiccup, but I never got much further either‟: What‟s missing in cancer care

    Ideas for Change: the version with quotes and additional ideas Ideas for Change: the short version

    Appendix A: How the Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project happened Appendix B: Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project selected resources

    ? The Ontario Breast Cancer Community Research Initiative, June 2004

Citing this report:

    Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project Team (2004). Coming Out About Lesbians

    and Cancer. Toronto: Ontario Breast Cancer Community Research Initiative.




    Many people and agencies created the Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project.

    ~ The project began

    because lesbians and community agencies believed in it & wanted it to happen.

    ~ The project became possible

    when the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Ontario Chapter funded it.

    ~ The project gathered momentum

    when people in the queer, women‟s health and cancer communities started spreading the word.

    ~ The project became meaningful

    when lesbians with breast and gynecological cancer spoke with us

    about their experiences with cancer and cancer care.

    Members of the Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project Team

    Maureen Aslin

    Jennifer Alexander

    Lisa Barnoff

    Pauline Bradbrook

    Mich?le Clarke

    Teri Henderson

    Pam Grassau

    Patti McGillicuddy

    Fran Odette

    Samantha Sarra

    Chris Sinding

    Anna Travers

    Danielle Vandezande

    Lesbians and Breast Cancer Project Partner Agencies

    The 519 Church Street Community Centre

    DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women‟s Network Ontario

    The Coalition for Lesbian & Gay Rights in Ontario

    Gilda‟s Club

    The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

    The Ontario Breast Cancer Community Research Initiative

    The Rainbow Health Network

    Sherbourne Health Centre


Sunnybrook & Women‟s College Health Sciences Centre –

    Social Work & Professional Advisory Committee

    Willow Breast Cancer Support & Resource Services

    Reviewers of the draft report

    (research participants & members of the Project Team)

    Danielle, Fran, Glenda, Jennifer, Kate, Laura, Lisa, Liz, Maureen, Mich?le, Pam, Patti, Pauline, Samantha, Teagan, Theresa

    Ontario Breast Cancer Community Research Initiative

    Staff researchers

    Lisa Barnoff, Research Facilitator

    Pamela Grassau, Research Facilitator

    Chris Sinding, Research Co-ordinator


    Randy Baker

    Catherine Stevens

    This project is made possible with the generous support of the

    Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Ontario Chapter


The evolution, focus and values of this report

    When we first set out create this project, we had some ideas about why it was important. We know, of course, that homophobia and heterosexism exist in health