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Healthcare experiences among Black and White sexual and gender minority cancer survivors: a qualitative study.

  • Shires, Deirdre A1
  • Kattari, Leonardo2
  • Hosea, Forrest3
  • Hirsch, Jen4
  • Mulvaney, Megan5
  • Matthews, Alicia K6
  • Thompson, Hayley S7, 8
  • 1 School of Social Work, Michigan State University, 655 Auditorium Road, 122 Baker Hall, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA. [email protected].
  • 2 Department of Health and Human Services, University of Michigan - Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA.
  • 3 Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
  • 4 School of Social Work, Michigan State University, 655 Auditorium Road, 122 Baker Hall, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.
  • 5 Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington, IN, USA. , (India)
  • 6 School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
  • 7 Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI, USA.
  • 8 Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
Published Article
Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice
Publication Date
Dec 05, 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s11764-023-01504-z
PMID: 38051422


The purpose of this study was to explore healthcare experiences of Black and White sexual and gender minority (SGM) cancer survivors across the cancer care continuum. This was a qualitative analysis of two focus groups and eight individual interviews completed as part of a larger initiative using a community-engaged research approach to reduce cancer disparities in marginalized communities. There was a total of 16 participants in the study (9 were White, 7 were Black) and data were collected between 2019 and 2020. Three main themes emerged from the thematic analysis: strategically coming out, provider preferences, and health system challenges. Participants noted that they often came out through their support system, decided to come out based on the relevance of their SGM identity that they perceived, and expressed a desire for privacy. Lack of an accessible and competent PCP was tied to delayed cancer diagnosis and many participants voiced a preference for consistency when they found a provider they liked. Providers across specialties can address barriers for SGM patients by not making assumptions about patient sexual orientation or gender identity. Institutions should systematically collect sexual orientation and gender identity information. Primary care providers should be aware that due to resistance to switching from trusted providers, they may need to take greater initiative to facilitate cancer screenings for their patients when appropriate or take special care when making referrals to ensure they are using SGM-affirming providers. SGM cancer survivors often benefit from a cultivating relationship with a trusted PCP or other provider. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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