BOSTON — LGB people tend to report poorer experiences as cancer patients than straights, Medical Xpress reports.
Conducting a secondary analysis of a 2013 U.K. National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, Richard Neal of the University of Leeds, a U.K. school, found that LGB respondents reported poorer care, less involvement in treatment decision making and the suitability of information resources, Medical Xpress reports.
Bisexual respondents particularly found it difficult to contact their dedicated nurse specialists and to get understandable answers from them. They reported that they were dissatisfied with their interaction with nurses on hospital wards and the care and help provided by both health and social care services after leaving hospital, Medical Xpress reports.
They reported that they were dissatisfied with their interaction with nurses on hospital wards, and the care and help provided by both health and social care services after leaving hospital. Despite wanting to be more involved in treatment decision-making, these respondents indicated that they were not given a choice of treatments.
Neal, a professor of primary care oncology in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “This is the first research highlighting the cancer care experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual patients. It shows that while health professionals must try to provide a good experience as possible for all patients, particular attention should be paid to the specific needs of gay, lesbian and bisexual patients. The findings of this research also direct health professionals as to how they may best do this.”
A worrying picture of social isolation was also painted through the findings, researchers said.
A higher proportion of LGB respondents said that either no family or friends were involved, or that that they did not want their family or friends involved in their cancer care experience, compared with heterosexual respondents.
This could be a deliberate strategy to protect family and friends from negative consequences of continued homophobia and discrimination, the researchers said. It is possible that choosing to exclude their loved ones is regarded by the patient as a safer option, Medical Xpress reports.