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LGBT women at risk from fake news, conference told

Monday July 1st, 2019

Lesbian women are being put at risk by a "harmful myth" that they cannot contract cervical cancer, campaigners have warned.

Nearly one in five women who are lesbian, gay or bisexual have never been for cervical screening.

A weekend conference heard that this was blamed on the "fake news" that sex between women would not lead to transmission of the human papillomavirus that causes the cancer.

Speaking to the Royal Society of Medicine event, Dr Michael Brady, NHS adviser on LGBT health, said: “The misleading information that gay and bisexual women aren’t at risk of this disease is one of the most dangerous myths around, because it has created a screening gap for thousands, which is a major concern for our community.

“Let’s be clear: cancer does not discriminate. If you’ve got a cervix, you can get cervical cancer, and as cervical cancer is preventable people should take up their regular screening appointments.

“We also know that NHS screening services need to be inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual trans and non-binary people, and I’m delighted to have been asked to help the NHS address these issues and more.”

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, added: "Addressing harmful myths, such as cervical screening being less important for the LGBT community must be urgently addressed.

"Cervical screening can be a difficult test for many reasons and we must be focused on removing the barriers that exist and ensuring every eligible person fully understands what cervical screening is for, knows where to access support and feels able to take up their invitation if they wish to do so.”

Tags: Cancer | NHS | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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