As Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust leads an awareness drive through Cervical Screening Awareness Week (CSAW) -running from the 9th to the 15th of June – LGBT health experts aim to highlight the issue of lesbian and bisexual women and their attitude towards cervical cancer.
Many lesbian and bi women are under the impression that they are not at risk from cervical cancer, and some choose not to get tested for fear of revealing their sexual orientation. There are even cases where it is the medical practitioner who tells them they don’t need to be tested.
However the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, is transmitted through skin to skin contact. Therefore, gay or straight, if you are a woman with an intact cervix and sexually active, you should have regular cervical screening.
Caroline Jones, a lesbian who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010, talks about why screenings are so important.
“The earlier you [diagnose] it the better; it can make all the difference,” she said. “You should attend regularly for your screenings and don’t take no for an answer.”
She encouraged all women to come forward: “Set your fears aside. This is your life. It is your human right to be treated.”
Whatever your orientation, Better2Know can also provide HPV testing at a time and place to suit you, with friendly and informed healthcare professionals to help.