More than two fifths of lesbian and bisexual women have been wrongly told that they do not need to be screened for cervical cancer, according to a survey by national charity The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF).
Responding to an on-line poll, 40.5% said they had been told by someone such as a friend, nurse, GP or family member, that they did not need a test. It was also revealed that attitudes and ignorance of medical staff have a huge influence on testing behaviour. 45.7% of lesbian and bisexual (LB) women of an eligible screening age said that being told they did not need a test directly influenced their screening behaviour.
In contrast, 86% of respondents knew LB women need to attend cervical screening but the charity says that there is still much work to be done.
The online survey was part of an education and awareness raising scheme which found that almost one in five respondents had been discouraged or refused a screen test by a health professional.
Annie Emery, head of services at LGF, said: “The survey results show there is significant work to be done to combat misinformation within the LGBT community, the general public and for medical staff around cervical screening for lesbian and bisexual women. “There is still much confusion as to whether LB women need cervical screening tests – which as we know saves lives – and it’s crucial that we get the message out there.”
For more information visit www.lgf.org.uk/screening