Summer has arrived and so has our annual Big Red Bash Experience! This past weekend we kicked off our 2016 Big Red Bash Experience at Indy Pride at the American Legion Mall.
As you can see from the pictures we had a blast educating the LGBT community about cancer and cancer prevention. But the unfortunate truth is that the LGBT community faces a disproportionately greater risk for cancer. They have a unique set of risk factors that place them at a disadvantage when it comes to cancer.
The number one preventable risk factor for cancer is tobacco use. Almost 24% of LGBT adults identify themselves as smokers, which is higher than the national average of 16.8%. Research has shown that roughly 30,000 members of the LGBT community die from a tobacco related disease every year. Lesbian and Bisexual women are also more likely to be overweight or obese and research shows that they eat fewer fruits and vegetables. By making the decision to quit tobacco as well as improve their diet and maintain a healthy weight, LGBT adults can reduce their cancer risk significantly.
There are also several social barriers that adults in the LGBT community face when it comes to cancer risk. Many fear discrimination or have encountered healthcare professionals who are not familiar with their unique health needs. It is shown that a large percentage of LGBT adults do not have health insurance or a regular health care provider that they trust.
It is extremely important that members of the LGBT community are aware of their individual health risks and take action to lower their risk for cancer. Here are some important steps that everyone can take to lower their risk for cancer:
• Know your past medical history
• Maintain an active lifestyle
• Stay tobacco free or quit tobacco
• Eat more fruits and veggies
• Get HPV vaccines
• Practice safe sex
• Talk to your doctor about which cancer screenings are right for you
By taking these steps, adults in the LGBT community can help keep themselves healthy and at lower risk for getting cancer!