Breast Cancer Poses Unique Challenges for Trans Community

5 posts in this topic

Posted

Oct 28 2016, 11:47 am ET

For six years, a California transgender man neglected a lump growing on his right breast.

"It was scary. I just kind of ignored it and ignored it," said the 53-year-old man, who asked to be identified only by the initials, "SK."

SK was in his 40s at the time and didn't have health insurance, or money to get his breasts removed, something he desperately wanted to happen. He also couldn't stand the idea of getting a mammogram, which would force him to acknowledge his breasts.

"Those things didn't belong on me," he said. SK always felt dysphoria about that part of his body and would layer his clothes so his chest would look flat.

He didn't decide to use hormones to medically transition to male until he was 49 years old, though he had known he was transgender since he was a child, he said. A therapist referred him to Planned Parenthood, which provides hormone services for transgender people who want to transition. During a chest examine, a doctor noticed the lump and immediately sent him for a biopsy. The results came back positive for breast cancer. He said his decision to transition saved his life.

More here: http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/breast-cancer-poses-unique-challenges-trans-community-n674556

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

We need better cancer screening care.  Even regular self-exams on female breasts can miss things, it depends on where the lump is located.  It can start on the side in the 'tail' of breast tissue that wraps around the rib cage, and that isn't as squishy and examable as the main part of the breast.  I read an article a while back that a yearly body scan would save countless lives from a WIDE variety of illnesses, including most cancers, but the current crazy pricing and insurance cost controls make it unlikely.  I wish our society as a whole would value better medical care as a whole for everyone, and drop the 'they take their risks because they are 'insert detail here'' mentality.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

""I was trying to see if I could get back into that program as a trans man, because I had the woman parts, but since I switched my identity over to male, everything says 'male,' then it doesn't count anymore," he added."  -- nbcnews.com
It's one thing to know what ailments affect certain groups the most.. but maybe it's about time that medicine, and especially insurance, stop dictating who can or can't be treated for what, and what someone will or won't be covered for.

"...there is limited research to assess their risks for developing breast cancer, according to Deutsch. She said transgender women who are taking female hormones can develop the disease, but their overall risk remains a mystery."  --nbcnews.com
Does there have to be research done and completed before transwomen can be treated?  Biological males can get breast cancer also - it's just not as common as in females, so either way, the chance is there.  They can do research, but in the meantime, transgender women shouldn't be denied preventative care or treatments.

Based on what appears to be practices that are quickly becoming antiquated and reasons for denying medical care being illogical, we could soon have large numbers of transgender people (at least in the US) dying from certain forms of cancer that insurance will not cover, and doctors do not/will not/can not screen for just because of the "M" or "F" on a person's records, with no regard to the parts they were [unfortunately] born with.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Does there have to be research done and completed before transwomen can be treated?  Biological males can get breast cancer also - it's just not as common as in females, so either way, the chance is there.  They can do research, but in the meantime, transgender women shouldn't be denied preventative care or treatments.

1​ in 7 breast cancer patients are biological males according to the information materials I was reading at the cancer center while waiting for Nikki to be done with his radiation treatments.  (You can only watch the bubble wall for so long before you find yourself reading every pamphlet in the place since you go daily for six weeks with what he had).  I also read a news article a while back about a man whose life was ruined by the cancer, his insurance didn't want to pay for treatment since he was a man, and all of the breast cancer aid charities are for women.  So it was not only a series of painful surgeries and post treatments, but long potentially life threatening delays to get anything approved and find the funding to pay for it, and job loss from the debilitating illness, and the treatment basically bankrupted what has previously been a fairly well off store owner. 

I would imagine this is extremely tricky for a transman.  A transwoman who has legally changed her identify to female would probably quality for most if not all of the breast cancer charity services since she could just show her id, but a transman in the same position would be in potentially more trouble than the man in the article since even basic insurance is tricky for transpersons from my understanding.  And then if top surgery has been had rather than binding, it goes back to the impracticality of self exam to catch it in the early stages. 

You are completely reinforcing my sense that we really truly need better daignostic and screening care, not just after the symptoms show up. 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

When you read Ol' Charly's article, please do not forget to click on the two links to learn even more . . .

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now