Due to their sexual orientation, some women don’t feel they need to get themselves screened for cervical cancer: a common misconception that can actually cause lots of real problems. In the United Kingdom, one in five women never get screened and health services are starting to sound the alarm.
The National Health Services (the NHS) have made an alarming discovery: according to a survey, 8% of people questioned estimate that lesbians and bisexuals never actually get screened. 600 women were interrogated in this study which also revealed that lots of women don’t know that it’s necessary or compulsory.
Several lesbian and bisexual women could therefore be potentially exposed to cervical cancer, specifically because of one dangerous myth: their sexual practices can’t cause this type of cancer. This common misconception has been listed as one of the main factors as to why people miss their screenings in a report dated 29th June.
A relentless myth
This is completely false however, and doctors cannot stress enough that every sexual practice can transmit papillomavirus which is responsible for cervical cancer.
Although they are aware of its existence, 21% of women questioned believe that they are less exposed than heterosexual women. A relentless myth, but fake news nevertheless. The absence of penetration in the vagina doesn’t prevent you from contracting this type of cancer.
50,000 English (lesbian and bisexual) women never go to get screened. An alarming figure, that doctor Michael Brady, a specialist in LGBT+ health can only criticise and condemn.
‘Cancer does not discriminate. If you’ve got a cervix, you can get cervical cancer,’ he explains.
In 2018, 71% of women ages 25 to 64 were screened in the United Kingdom. In other countries such as France, the figure drops to 60%.
The dangers of this myth
Medical professionals are often faced with stubborn prejudices surrounding certain illnesses, making prevention and screening complicated. When AIDS first appeared, it was systematically qualified as a ‘homosexual illness’. Although LGBT communities have suffered significantly from HIV, society finally ended up realising that it can affect homosexuals just as much as it affects heterosexuals.