Toronto Metropolitan University
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The Cancer’s Margins Project: Access to Knowledge and Its Mobilization by LGBQ/T Cancer Patients

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 17:32 authored by Evan T. Taylor, Mary K. Bryson, Lorna Boschman, Tae Hart, Jacqueline Gahagan, Genevieve Rail, Janice Ristock
Sexual and/or gender minority populations (LGBQ/T) have particular cancer risks, lower involvement in cancer screening, and experience barriers in communication with healthcare providers. All of these factors increase the probability of health decisions linked with poor outcomes that include higher levels of cancer mortality. Persistent discrimination against, and stigmatization of, LGBQ/T people is reflected in sparse medical curriculum addressing LGBQ/T communities. Marginalization makes LGBQ/T persons particularly reliant on knowledge derived from online networks and mainstream media sources. In what is likely the first nationally-funded and nation-wide study of LGBQ/T experiences of cancer, the Cancer’s Margins project ( conducted face-to-face interviews with 81 sexual and/or gender minority patients diagnosed and treated for breast and/or gynecological cancer in five Canadian provinces and the San Francisco Bay area (US). With specific attention to knowledge access, sharing, and mobilization, our objective was to document and analyze complex intersectional relationships between marginalization, gender and sexuality, and cancer health decision-making and care experiences. Findings indicate that cancer care knowledge in online environments is shaped by cisnormative and heteronormative narratives. Cancer knowledge and support environments need, by contrast, to be designed by taking into account intersectionally diverse models of minority identities and communities. Keywords: biographical knowledge; biomedical knowledge; cancer; cancer care; gender; health disparities; health equity; information access; LGBT health; minority cancer patients; transgender; treatment