The Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community are known to experience disproportionate mental and physical health inequalities. There are issues and concerns relating to prostate cancer that affect the GBT community that prove to be distinct. Anxieties surrounding sex, support, and experiences in the healthcare system are significant. Without specific support in a GBT friendly environment, those affected by prostate cancer may find it more difficult to engage with support services and manage their condition.
Prostate Cancer UK commissioned a service development survey to establish the support needs of the GBT community living with or caring for someone with a prostate cancer diagnosis. A number of initiatives were developed with Movember Foundation funding as a result of the findings.
In partnership with the LGBT Foundation, the first ever prostate cancer survivorship conference aimed at the Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community took place on March 2014 in Manchester. The day targeted those involved in clinical delivery, commissioning, policy and research of clinical treatments, as well as those affected by prostate cancer.
Again working with the LGBT Foundation as well as Birmingham LGBT centre, a set of postcards were produced and distributed throughout the UK. The postcards answered frequently asked clinical questions, and also included awareness messaging.
Multiple support groups for the Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community were set up across England. These groups offered the community a chance to talk openly about how prostate cancer affects them and gain psychosocial support from someone going through a similar experience.
Finally, Prostate Cancer UK and the Metro Centre worked together to provide a peer mentor scheme to train and match gay and bisexual buddies to men with prostate cancer living in London and South East England. The buddy scheme provided practical support and advice from others who had been through similar experiences.
These various initiatives saw a significant impact on those involved in clinical support and those affected by prostate cancer:
- Of clinicians that attended a conference, 97% gained an increased confidence and knowledge about how to support trans-women and increase their access to services
- Of support group leaders and volunteers that attended a conference, 100% increased their ability to support the Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community and their partners affected by prostate cancer
- 95% of buddy scheme members saw an increase in understanding of sexuality post-prostate cancer treatment
- 81% of support group members in London & South East England saw a measurable increase in well-being
- 81% of support group members in London & South East England saw a measurable increase in understanding of survivorship
I found it incredibly supportive to share experiences with each other and that the meetings provide an excellent forum for both providing information for those seeking advice and providing support for those who have been through the various therapies and surgeries