If you’re a trans woman or non-binary person assigned male at birth, you might feel uncomfortable going to your doctor to talk about possible prostate problems. This might be because you don’t wish to be ‘outed’ or you may feel worried about being treated as male. You may also feel anxious about having tests for prostate cancer and fear they will be invasive.
Remember that your conversations with health professionals are confidential and they must treat you with respect. This includes using the correct names and pronouns on your records, at reception and during treatments and consultations. Read more about your right to be treated equally to everyone else. If a doctor tells you they do not know anything about prostate care for trans people, they have a duty of care to find out.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the GP you’re seeing. If you find that you’re not, or if they don’t use your chosen pronoun and name, you have the right to make a complaint and ask to see someone else. You can ask to see another GP in the same practice or register with a new practice. You could also ask to be referred to a gender identity clinic (if you’re not already under the care of one) or a urologist.
What to say
Start by explaining that you have a prostate – and mention any symptoms or family history of prostate cancer. Tell the doctor about any history of hormonal treatment and testicle removal. You don’t have to reveal your trans history to a health professional unless you want to, but it will help them give you the best care.
Healthcare professionals should discuss with you how and what medical information you wish to be recorded and shared. For example, all of your history may not be relevant. But some medical information, such as how long you have been taking feminising hormones or testosterone blockers and any surgical procedures, is relevant to prostate health.
Many health professionals won’t have seen trans people with prostate problems (or even trans people at all) so you might need to take a role in educating them. The checklist below may help you remember what to say. If your doctor is unsure about prostate problems in trans women, they can contact a gender identity clinic for expert guidance.
If you feel embarrassed about starting a conversation about prostate problems, then try taking this information with you. Or download this checklist for talking to your GP about prostate cancer as a trans woman.