Caring for LGBTQ+ Individuals

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has adopted the term “sexual and gender minorities” (SGM) to be inclusive of the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other populations (LGBTQIA+) that do not identify as heterosexual and cisgender. SGM individuals were designated a health disparity population by the National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities in 2016. The terms used to describe this population (e.g. LGBTQ+, LGBTQI+, LGBTQIA2S+) may vary depending on the resources being referenced. The plus or “+” makes space for expansive experiences of sexual orientation and gender not captured in the terms included in each acronym.*

7.2% of the U.S. population self-identifies as a sexual or gender minority status (2023, Gallup). With regard to cancer, SGM people experience unique challenges at each stage of the cancer continuum, may face greater risk of developing cancer, and may be diagnosed with cancer at a younger age and a later stage, than their heterosexual/cisgender counterparts (Kamen et al, 2022, JCO Oncology Practice).