Studies Explore Prevalence of Skin Cancer Among Sexual Minorities

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 12, 2020 — The prevalence of skin cancer among sexual minorities and transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) adults is explored in two studies published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Dermatology.

Sean Singer, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between sexual orientation and lifetime prevalence of skin cancer using data from the 2014 to 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys that included 845,264 adults (351,468 heterosexual men; 7,516 gay men; 5,088 bisexual men; 466,355 heterosexual women; 5,392 lesbian women; and 9,445 bisexual women). The researchers found that compared with heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men had significantly higher adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of skin cancer prevalence (aOR, 1.26 and 1.48, respectively). Bisexual women had significantly lower adjusted odds ratios of skin cancer than heterosexual women (aOR, 0.78).

In a second study, Singer and colleagues examined skin cancer risks among TGNC adults using data from the BRFSS surveys. Data were included for 368,197 cisgender men, 492,345 cisgender women, 1,214 transgender men, 1,675 transgender women, and 766 GNC individuals. The researchers found that the likelihood of having a skin cancer history was significantly lower for cisgender women versus cisgender men (aOR, 0.85) and was significantly higher for GNC individuals versus cisgender men (aOR, 2.11); no significant differences were seen for transgender men or women.

“Now that differences have been identified, the next step is to understand why these differences exist and how they can be mitigated,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “It is time for dermatologists to lend their expertise to help prioritize the dermatology-related health of sexual and gender minority persons.”

One author from both studies disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

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