(HealthDay News) — Sexual-minority cancer survivors have worse access to care and higher odds of poor quality of life (QOL), according to a study published online May 20 in Cancer.

Ulrike Boehmer, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed four years of data from the Behavioral Risk Surveillance System for adult men and women who self-reported a history of cancer. A total of 1,931 of the 70,524 cancer survivors identified as sexual minorities, defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other nonheterosexual orientation.

The researchers found that compared with heterosexual women, sexual-minority women had significantly more access deficits (42.7 versus 28.0 percent); similar access to care was seen for men of different sexual orientations. Compared with heterosexual women, sexual-minority women with access deficits had increased odds of poor physical QOL (odds ratio [OR], 2.0 versus 1.3), poor mental QOL (OR, 1.8 versus 1.5), and difficulties concentrating (OR, 2.0 versus 1.7). Compared with heterosexual men, sexual-minority men with access deficits had increased odds of difficulty concentrating (OR, 4.3 versus 1.5). Sexual-minority status correlated with increased odds of poor mental QOL among men (OR, 1.49).

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“Clinicians who are aware of these disparities and address them during clinic visits may have an impact on sexual minority women’s survival rates, which are lower than their heterosexual counterparts’ rates,” Boehmer said in a statement.

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