Sexual orientation and gender identity might impact a person’s risk of developing skin cancer, according to two recently published studies.
One study analyzed skin cancer and sexual orientation and the other skin cancer and gender identity. They both used data from over 840,000 patients from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaires compiled between 2014 to 2018. Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPH, director of dermatology inpatient services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was the lead writer on both studies. In the study examining sexual orientation, they found that gay men were 26 percent more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than heterosexual men, and were 48 percent more likely than bisexual men. However, in comparing female demographics, lesbian and heterosexual women had the same chances of developing skin cancer, and bisexual women were 22 percent less likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
In the gender study, the researchers founds that transgender individuals were twice as likely to have skin cancer than cis-gendered people, and the cancer was 15 percent less common among cis-gendered women. “The GNC finding was a bit of a surprise,” said Mostaghimi. “We would really like to explore that further to find out why gender nonconforming individuals might have a higher rate of skin cancer.”