|by Sal Seeley|
|New Cancer Screening Program at CAMP Rehoboth
We all are aware that cancer is a very serious issue for many people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. There is research out there that shows that the GLBT community might be disproportionately affected by some types of cancer. According to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, these cancers include breast cancer, cancers related to AIDS, lung cancer, rectal cancer and cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). So, why are we disproportionately affected?
There are many reasons why our community is at higher risk not only for cancer but other diseases. Besides genetics, I still believe there are barriers of homophobia and heterosexism that influence the reasons why gay men and women don't get tested or get preventive care. How many times have we been afraid to tell our doctors that we have same sex partners or have sex with someone who is the same gender? If it isn't an issue of homophobia, it could be that many of us have limited health insurance or have no insurance at all. Don't let these barriers stop you from being screened.
For these reasons, CAMP Rehoboth and the Beebe Medical Center will bring health programming to the GLBT community in Sussex County. As our space and programs grow and we are able to provide more services to the community, we will continue to focus on important issues and partner with agencies in the community to bridge any gaps.
This past year, we were asked by Beebe Medical Center to become a community partner by bringing the "Champions of Change" program to CAMP Rehoboth. The program targets community groups in Delaware by working in their own communities to get people in for screenings or other health programs. We were asked by Beebe Medical Center to work within the GLBT community. For us, the goal of this program is to reach out to men and women in our community who have no or limited health care and get them into preventive screening programs for cancer. Here's how it works:
If you have no (or limited insurance) and are interested in a mammogram, prostate, rectal or colon screening, call me at 302-227-5620. I will help make the arrangements with Beebe Medical Center.
Get the screening, and we will give you a gift card worth $25.00.
See how simple this is!
We can't do all this work alone. We need your help. Here is a way that you can be involved in this program. Talk to your family, your friends, your partner about getting screened. If you know someone who is afraid of getting a screening, has put it off or can't afford itget them in. Don't let money be a barrier when there are programs in place that will provide these screenings. HELP US TAKE A STAND, get involved and let's take responsibility for a healthy GLBT community in Sussex County.
Here are screening guidelines according to the American Cancer Society:
Breast Exams: All women should have their breasts examined by a doctor or other health professional once a year.
Mammograms: Women age 40 and older should have regular mammograms, as recommended by their doctors or health professionals.
Colorectal Tests: Men and women age 50 and older should have regular colorectal cancer screening tests, as recommended by their doctors or health professionals.
Prostate Exam: Starting at age 50, men should have a prostate exam. Men at high risk (African-American men and men with a strong family of one or more first-degree relatives [father, brothers] diagnosed before age 65) should begin testing at age 45.
Sal Seeley is Program Director of CAMPsafe, an HIV/AIDS program funded through a contract with the Delaware Division of Public Health. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 01 February 08, 2008