Transgender People Do Not Face Higher Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows
Research based on VA medical records finds no bump up in risk, despite use of hormone therapy
WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- While some may worry about the long-term health effects of hormonal therapy on transgender people, a new study finds no higher risk of breast cancer in this group than in the general population.
Reporting in the journal LGBT Health, the analysis of U.S. veterans' medical records from 1998 to 2013 identified 10 cases of breast cancer in transgender people, according to study author Dr. George Brown, of Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn.
The breast cancers tended to be more advanced in people who were born as male and transitioned to female, compared to those who were born female and transitioned to male.
Overall, however, transgender people appear to be at no higher odds for developing breast cancer. Speaking in a journal news release, Brown said that when groups of transgender and transsexual people are tracked over time, this has "not led to the detection of an increased incidence relative to the general population."
Still, he believes that doctors should discuss standard breast cancer screening with transgender patients -- whether or not they have had hormone therapy.
"Breast cancer in transgender and transsexual patients is rarely reported, and when it is, it is often in association with hormonal therapy and mentioned as a potential side effect of that therapy, particularly with estrogens," said journal editor-in-chief Dr. William Byne. He is a staff physician and psychiatrist at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y., and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association has more about transgender health.