198731 Breast Cancer Survivorship: The role of perceived discrimination and sexual identity

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:30 PM

Jennifer M. Jabson, MPH, PhD , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Rebecca J. Donatelle, PhD, CHES , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
In 2007 2,477,847 breast cancer survivors were reported in the United States (NCI, 2008) and more than 89% of those diagnosed with breast cancer will ultimately surpass the five year ‘cancer free mark', becoming known as ‘cancer survivors'. It is established that breast cancer disproportionately affects lesbian identified women compared to heterosexually identified women, but it remains unknown how sexual identity based discrimination impacts the processes of breast cancer survivorship. As more and more breast cancer survivors attain and live past the five-year cancer ‘survival' mark, it is clear that breast cancer survivorship is a complex process that lasts in many cases long into life past a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The National Cancer Institute (2008) broadly defines cancer survivorship as the “physical, psychological, and economic issues of cancer from diagnosis until the end of life”. Accumulating evidence makes clear that process of breast cancer survivorship is influenced by a constellation of important factors, among these is sexual identity. Research demonstrates that race-based and class-based discrimination significantly impacts health care quality and long term health outcomes. Building on this knowledge our study examines lesbian's perception of discrimination in the multiple facets of the breast cancer survivorship process. The primary focus of this study was to assess lesbian breast cancer survivor's perceptions of discrimination during and after their breast cancer treatment experience and secondarily to examine the role of this discrimination on lesbian's report of social support, quality of life, and affect.

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe lesbian breast cancer survivors perceptions of discrimination in the health care setting. 2. To translate lessons learned from other studies and literature on perceived discrimination to breast cancer survival among lesbian populations to determine the role of sexual identity based perceived discrimination in cancer survivorship. 3. Evaluate factors that may predispose women to poorer outcomes in breast cancer survivorship. 4. Discuss sexual identity based perceived discrimination in the health care setting.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted this research has supported by my doctoral committee.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.