In many medical situations, gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer women are disregarded or overlooked for very important cervical screenings that should be happening on a regular basis. If you are a person who has sex or intimate time with other women and older than twenty-one, you should be being screened for cervical cancer yearly!
Anyone who owns a cervix can be at a greater risk for developing cervical cancer, the human papilloma virus, and many other sexually transmitted infections. Having any form of genital skin-on-skin contact with anyone of any gender means you should be having regular cancer and STI screenings.
Many people will say that they have no symptoms and therefore have nothing to worry about. This is untrue information, as cervical cancer and STIs can come with their own silent symptoms and issues. You should be screened even if these are true:
- Are no longer sexually active
- Have no symptoms
- Have been through menopause
- Have had only one partner in your life
- Have had the HPV vaccination
- Have only ever had sex with women
- Have no family history of cervical cancer
- Have only ever had sex with trans men
These are other common questions that arise when discussing queer women and cervical screenings.
Q- “I have had bottom surgery. Do I still need to get screened?”
- If you have had a colpectomy or the removal of the vagina, or colpocleisis, the closure of the vagina as a part of your bottom surgery, you will not be able to have a Pap test. These procedures commonly occur after a full hysterectomy, and during this time, the cervix would have been removed. If there is a history of dysplasia or cervical cancer prior to any bottom surgery, this should all be discussed with your medical care team.
Q- “I am on testosterone. Do I still need a Pap test or cervical screening?”
- Yes. If you are over twenty-one years old, have a cervix and are sexually active, you should be regularly screened for cervical cancer whether or not you are taking T. Being on testosterone does not affect your risk for developing cervical cancer. Taking T can, however, cause changes in the cells of your cervix that can mimic cervical dysplasia. This is why it is important that your medical care team and the lab processing your results know that you are taking T.
If you are a queer woman in need of finding a doctor or healthcare team that is accepting of your gender identity and sexuality, please reach out and we can help to find you services in your area that are inclusive and open.