Study aims to improve supports for LGBTQ+ community living with cancer

University of Windsor, January 29, 2016 (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Researchers at the University of Windsor are looking for people to take part in a study probing the quality of cancer care the LGBTQ+ community receives.

Nursing Professor Kathryn Pfaff, leader of the Compassion Care Pride intervention project, is looking for 40 participants to fill out two surveys and take part in interviews.

“There is good data to suggest that people who identify as LGBTQ+ have a disproportionate cancer burden. Many are hesitant to seek cancer screening and have low social support, and this can result in poorer cancer outcomes,” she said.

Right now, no data is suggesting how many members of that community in Windsor-Essex have cancer. The local healthcare system does not collect that information, but studies have shown that LGBTQ+ people face discrimination and stigma. As a result, they are less likely to seek preventative cancer care or other help.

The team will help connect participants with the support they need. It can be as small as introducing them to health apps or as large as advocating for supports on their behalf.

The researchers plan to publish their results in a report when the study wraps up in August. The WE-Spark Health Institute and Hospice Palliative Care Ontario will share the findings.

Pfaff hopes to expand the study in the future.

“We’re looking at outcomes and how applying a compassionate community approach for LGBTQ+ people receiving cancer care in Windsor-Essex can help improve their quality of life and wellbeing,” she said.

Nine graduate and undergraduate students from the Faculty of Nursing and Biomedical Sciences are on the research team. They have partnered with the Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community, the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, and Trans Wellness Ontario.

A $30,000 grant from the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s Seeds4Hope Program will fund the research.