By Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, February 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Homosexual and bisexual men in the United States have higher rates of skin cancer than heterosexual men, while bisexual women have lower rates than heterosexual women, according to a New study
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed data collected from national surveys conducted between 2014 and 2018 and found that skin cancer rates were 8.1% among gay men, 8.4% among bisexual men and 6.7% Among heterosexual men.
The rates were 4.7% among bisexual women, 5.9% among lesbian women and 6.6% among heterosexual women. The difference in rates between lesbian women and heterosexual women was not statistically significant, according to the researchers.
These findings could be important for patient education and community outreach programs to reduce the risk of skin cancer, the study authors said.
"It is absolutely critical that we ask about sexual orientation and gender identity in national health surveys; if we never ask the question, we would never know that these differences exist," said study author Dr. Arash Mostaghimi, director from the hospitalized dermatology patient service in Brigham and women.
"This information helps inform the nation about how to allocate health resources and how to train providers and leaders," he said in a hospital press release. "When we look at the disparities, it can be awkward, but we must keep asking these questions to see if we are improving or getting worse by addressing them."
"Historically, this type of health variation was hidden, but now we recognize that it is clinically significant," Mostaghimi said, adding that sexual orientation information has only recently been included in these national surveys.
"This is the first time we have been able to see nationwide data on skin cancer rates among sexual minorities," he said.
"As a next step, we want to connect with sexual minority communities to help identify the cause of these differences in skin cancer rates," Mostaghimi said. "This is a job that should be done carefully, but it can help not only sexual minorities but everyone."
The study was published online on February 12 in the journal. JAMA Dermatology.