NHS England has highlighted a serious screening gap that has occurred due to a common myth that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) women do not have a risk for developing cervical cancer.
It is estimated that nearly 50,000 LGB women have never undergone cervical cancer screening due to their misbelief that they are not at risk. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Foundation reports that one in five LGB women eligible for cervical screening has intentionally missed their appointment.
During the Royal Society of Medicine’s ‘Pride in Medicine’ event, Dr Michael Brady, the NHS national advisor for LGBT health expressed strong concerns about these figures and urged eligible LGB women to proactively get screened. He emphasised that any kind of sexual activity can transmit the HPV virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers. An estimated 83 per cent of cervical cancers could be prevented if all eligible women attend regular screenings.
Seema Kennedy, Public Health Minister, said: "No woman’s life should be put at risk because of myths and misinformation. Anyone with a cervix may be at risk of cervical cancer and regular and effective screening is the only way to protect against it."