Sexual-orientation disparities in frequent engagement in cancer-related risk behaviors over time
Methods. We used longitudinal data spanning 11 years from the Growing Up Today Study. Of the analytic sample (N=9,958), 1.8% identified as lesbian/gay (LG), 1.6% bisexual (BI), 12.1% mostly heterosexual (MH), and 84.5% completely heterosexual (CH) in 2010.
Results. More sexual minorities (LG, BI, and MH) frequently engaged in multiple cancer-related risk behaviors than did CH. Sex stratified repeated measures analyses, adjusting for age and ethnicity/race, found disparities in frequent engagement over time in substance use and diet and physical activity risk for sexual-minority women relative to CH women. These group-level analyses found that gay young men relative to CH men reported frequent engagement in vomiting food, physical inactivity, and use of tanning booths, and a higher prevalence of ever having an STI. Individual analyses of persistence over time in frequent engagement were generally comparable to the group-level analyses.
Conclusions. Sexual minorities are likely at risk for long-term poor health outcomes, such as cancer, given their frequent engagement in cancer-related risk behaviors over time. Therefore, data on sexual orientation-disparities in cancer-related morbidity and mortality are needed, as are interventions to reduce the potential burden of cancer in sexual minorities.
Learning Areas:Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Discuss a need for sensitivity to potential elevated cancer morbidity among sexual minorities relative to heterosexuals. Demonstrate sexual-orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors.
Keyword(s): Cancer Prevention and Screening, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principal, co-principal, or co-investigator on multiple federally funded grants focusing on understanding health disparities particularly, but not exclusively, among sexual minorities. I have many publications in peer-reviewed journals, including AJPH, on sexual-orientation health disparities.
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.