LGBTQIA: Being a “Flat Topper” with Breast Cancer: Description & Issues

Just what is a “flat topper”?

This newly coined term describes the LGBTQIA person who had breasts, and for whatever reason or choice, has decided that they are more comfortable in life with a flat chest, or flat top. For many females, transgendered individuals, and gender non-conforming people, having breasts hinders their ability to self-identify or be the person they truly wish to be.

Another time this issue arises is after having and battling breast and chest cancer, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. When a mastectomy occurs, the patient often has the option to retain “pockets” of skin on the chest that would or could eventually hold breast implants with reconstruction. This is a common procedure for breast havers who are undergoing a mastectomy. More often than not, LGBTQIA members find that they do not want these pockets to exist, and they are satisfied with their newly flattened chests. Many doctors and specialists have not yet fully incorporated or understand LGBTQIA health care or their needs and desires. The problem then arises when their doctor or medical staff do not follow these wishes or choose to blatantly ignore their patient’s wishes entirely.

Many patients report that the aspect of having a proper top surgery after breast cancer for some can be more mentally straining and difficult than the actual cancer itself. Those medical professionals who do not agree with the LGBTQIA lifestyle, or understand, often inflict more stress, disconnect, and judgment- all which make the individual stop reaching out for medical care altogether.

Many trans and non-binary people have tales of being discriminated against by insurance companies for top surgery of any kind, some specific specialists, and have a general neglected feeling when it comes to their medical care regarding breast cancer and top surgery. Even informational practices single genders out, “Women with Breast Cancer,” and “Men with Breast Cancer,” not providing generalized whole information for “Humans with Breast or Chest Cancer.”

On top of all of that, many medical professionals continue to mis-gender individuals even after they have declared on paperwork and in-person which pronouns or names they prefer to be called. With the lack of funding and research for those transgendered individuals who end up with breast or chest cancer, it is hard to determine if the hormones they are taking play any direct role in the development, or re-development, of cancerous breast and chest tumors.

These individuals simply want to be comfortable in their own skin. They want to feel heard and listened to with their wants and needs for their personal medical care. They do not want to be made to feel less than or have to battle harder to have their gender identity acknowledged. By allowing humans to make their own medical decisions about the cosmetic appearance of their body, this helps them to live a full, whole life; able to be just the person they want to be.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy


National LGBT Cancer Network

The Trans Center

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