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Lawrie Roberts, co-ordinator for Macmillan's LGBT Cancer Programme, met with our team to discuss how we can work to overcome the challenges faced by LGBT people in ovarian cancer care.

My role as a Programme Co-ordinator for Macmillan Cancer Support is hosted at LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) Foundation, a charity with national reach which changes LGBT lives for the better. As part of my work I bring together LGBT people in Greater Manchester who are living with or affected by cancer to explore the unique needs that exist within our communities when it comes to care and support around cancer.

A huge range of issues have been explored via the programme, from the importance of having your same sex partner or gender identity recognised properly in consultations (it doesn’t always happen!) to the importance of LGBT-affirmative and safe emotional support spaces for cancer patients. Campaigns and events are developed to highlight these issues, and we communicate what we have learnt back into cancer services via a package of training.

We know that there is much more work to be done to find out about the impact of ovarian cancer on LGBT communities, and so I was delighted to be invited to Ovacome’s London offices in February to talk about my work and be part of a planning meeting. Over the course of two days I delivered two LGBT awareness sessions to staff and volunteers which has raised the level of knowledge and understanding in the organisation of the unique issues which are faced by LGBT communities in accessing cancer care and support. It was fantastic to hear from staff about work which has already commenced to ensure that the stories of Ovacome members from LGBT communities are captured and shared. Becky’s story about experiencing ovarian cancer as a lesbian couple is now on the Ovacome website. Clare's story has been a major feature in DIVA Magazine (Europe’s leading magazine for lesbian and and bi women) exploring the challenges often faced by the partners of those going through a cancer diagnosis.

Towards the end of my visit I was part of a planning meeting where it was decided that Ovacome will further the reach of current campaigns and resources through the use of language and imagery that is more inclusive of same sex couples and our trans and non-binary communities, dedicated outreach at Pride events throughout the summer, briefing sheets for health professionals about LGBT communities experiences and I’m sure the introduction of a rainbow flag or two about the place!

 

The issues in this article impact me, how can I take action?

  • If you are an LGBT person who would like to share your experience of living with ovarian cancer please contact [email protected] or call 0207 299 6658.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about ovarian cancer please visit the Ovacome website or ring 0800 008 7054 for support.
  • If you need to access advice, support or information from LGBT Foundation please visit our website or call our support line on 0345 3 30 30 30.
  • And finally watch this space for more activity from Ovacome around LGBT communities and ovarian cancer…

 

Find us:

Macmillan Cancer Programme for Greater Manchester

Follow Lawrie on Twitter