Lesbians are as diverse as the population at large, crossing all geographic, economic, racial, ethnic, religious, age and other boundaries. Unfortunately, lesbians are less likely to seek out healthcare because of fear of health providers’ homophobia, negative past experiences with healthcare professionals, lack of need for contraception which leads most women to seek healthcare, or workplace policies that do not provide health insurance for unmarried partners.
Consequently, many lesbians tend to overlook routine physical exams, including
pap smears and mammograms, more often than heterosexual women do. Recent studies have
shown that less frequent healthcare means that lesbians are less likely to have existing
cancers detected early and thus may have higher rates of cancer mortality.
Like all women, lesbians should have screening tests appropriate to their age, medical history and family history in a safe and welcoming environment. These tests may include an annual exam with appropriate blood tests, mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy and bone density.
California Pacific Medical Center is sensitive to the needs of lesbians and encourages women of all ethnic groups, ages and sexual orientations to seek preventive healthcare screenings. Please call our physician referral line at (888) 637-2762 or Women’s Health Resource Center at (415) 600-0500.