Lesbian, bisexual and same sex attracted women may be at increased risk for developing certain cancers. This may be due to lifestyle factors that are more common within these groups including smoking (breast, ovarian, bowel, lung), being overweight (breast, uterine), being less likely to have had children (breast). This may also be due to reduced levels of screening (pap smears, mammograms) and reduced access to health care for some women that can be the result of an inability to find sensitive health care providers or past negative experiences. Some women with cancer have difficulty in receiving support that openly includes their lifestyle and partner.

Helpful books:

Taylor, Jean. The C-Word: A story about the effects of cancer. Spinifex Press, Melbourne, 2000.

Horsley, Philomena (editor). Cancer – an incredible journey. Stories of lesbians living with cancer. Lesbian Cancer Support Group, South Yarra, 2002. Available from:


Lesbian Cancer Support group, Melbourne

Cancer Council of Victoria