Wiley Logo Sexual orientation seems to play a pivotal role in the life-threatening disease cancer. According to a latest study, gay men have a higher prevalence of cancer than heterosexual men and lesbians. Bisexual female cancer survivors may depict lower levels of health than heterosexual female cancer survivors. The study also reveals the types of programs and services that can benefit lesbian, gay as well as bisexual cancer survivors.

During the study, data from the California Health Interview survey from 2001, 2003, and 2005 was assayed. This survey appears as the largest state health survey conducted in the United States. Around 7,252 women and 3,690 men diagnosed with cancer were examined. No remarkable differences in cancer prevalence by sexual orientation among women were reported. However, lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors probably were 2.0 and 2.3 times more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to heterosexual female cancer survivors.

“This information can be used for the development of services for the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population,” said Dr. Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, of the Boston University School of Public Health. “Because more gay men report as cancer survivors, we need foremost programs for gay men that focus on primary cancer prevention and early cancer detection. Because more lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual women with cancer report that they are in poor health, we need foremost programs and services that improve the well-being of lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors.”

Gay men, on the other hand, allegedly were 1.9 times more likely to develop cancer than heterosexual men. Authors noted no significant variation in the health among male cancer survivors. Additional investigations can be conducted to study the link between cancer and sexual orientation in greater detail.

The study is published online in the journal Cancer.