Health and Wellness

Breast radiologists overwhelmingly lack LGBTQ competency. This hurts trans patients the most.

Teen in plaid visiting a doctor. Will she talk about her medical needs? If she's queer, she's less likely to, but this is also a stock image so no, she's not saying anything.
Photo: Shutterstock

A recent survey has found LGBTQ competency severely lacking among breast radiologists, which has especially large implications for transgender patients in need of cancer screenings.

Reported on by Radiology Business, the survey went out to members of the Society of Breast Imaging and received 401 responses from radiologists in both the United States and Canada.

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Of those surveyed, 70% said they either had no LGBTQ competency training or else were unsure about it.

What’s more, only 13% said they differentiate between a patient’s sex assigned at birth and their gender identity in medical records. Most respondents also said they do not have a system to classify patients as nonbinary.

65% of respondents also said they do not provide screening recommendations for transgender men, while between 38% and 62% (depending on the region) said they followed screening guidelines for trans women.

The authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, stressed the “substantial need to record nonbinary gender information” when screening.

They added that while the survey respondents differed vastly in their knowledge of screening transgender men and women, many of them are interested in contributing data on transgender patients in order to better “inform cancer screening guidelines.”

This aligns with the fact that 81% of respondents agreed that there is not enough data available on screening transgender patients.

The results come as a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau has found that over 2 million adults (more than 1% of adults in the country) could identify as transgender, with an additional 2%  saying they do not identify with either cisgender or transgender.

As such, trans competent healthcare is crucial, which the authors of the breast imaging study emphasize.

Allowing the patient to identify precise gender and then recording such data…is critical to patient-centered healthcare as well as evidence-based research,” they wrote. “Answering questions about sexual orientation and gender identity is acceptable to transgender patients in the clinical setting and is therefore feasible.”

A gym refused to let a trans woman use the women’s locker room. She just won a settlement.

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