The American Cancer Society estimates that by the end of 2021, there will be 104,270 new cases of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer, 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer and an expected 52,980 deaths as a result from colorectal cancer. This cancer is one of the most preventable with early detection. The earlier an individual is screened, the higher their chances are for survival. Survival rates are as high as 90% in the first stage of detection.
Colorectal cancer is cancer in the colon or the rectum due to a growth in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps and can be precancerous or not precancerous. Screenings for colorectal cancer are available and should be covered by most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are several types of screenings and consultation with a primary care provider for insurance coverage is advised to decide the best course of action.
It is recommended that adults over the age of 50 be screened for colorectal cancer for early detection and treatment. Screenings can also include a colonoscopy, which is recommended every 10 years.
Despite preventative screenings available to stop the rate of colorectal cancer diagnoses, 81.9% of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians reported completing a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy screening among those for whom these screenings are suggested . This means that almost 1 in 5 LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, who are recommended for screenings, are not receiving preventative care. The goal set forth by the National Colorectal Roundtable is to have at least 80% of recommended individuals complete a colorectal screening. According to the Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessments from 2018 and 2020, LGBTQ Pennsylvanians have only started to reach this goal as recently as 2019/2020.
BARRIERS TO CARE
There are numerous barriers which prevent LGBTQ individuals from receiving valuable preventative care such as cancer screenings. According to the 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment, 19.2% of LGBTQ individuals report not having a primary healthcare provider. Of those that had a primary healthcare provider, 1 in 4 of them report having had a negative experience with a healthcare professional, and 1 in 3 LGBTQ people report they did not believe most of their healthcare providers have medical expertise related to LGBTQ health needs. These experiences may be more common among some LGBTQ persons such as transgender individuals and persons of color.
Our colorectal campaign is an evidenced-based campaign to increase colorectal screening among LGBT people aged 50 and above in the Lehigh Valley.
The campaign was funded through a grant from Olympus.
LOCAL LGBT-KNOWLEDGABLE PROVIDERS
LVPG General, Bariatric & Trauma Surgery - Cedar Crest
1240 South Cedar Crest Blvd, Suite 308
Allentown PA 18103
LVPG General and Bariatric Surgery - Muhlenberg
2649 Schoenersville Road, Suite 202
Bethlehem PA 18017
1: “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html.
2: “80% in Every Community. What can Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgerder do to advance the shared goal to screen 80% of age-eligable adults for Colorectal Cancer?” National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, 2019. Retrieved from https://nccrt.org/resource/80-in-every-community-lgbt/.
3: Lairson, David R., Junghyun Kim, Theresa Byrd, Rebekah Salaiz, and Navkiran K. Shokar. “Cost-Effectiveness of Community Interventions for Colorectal Cancer Screening: Low-Income Hispanic Population.” Health Promotion Practice 19, no. 6 (November 2018): 863–72. doi:10.1177/1524839917750815.
4: Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. (2020). 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment.
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