Propensity to adhere to cervical cancer screening recommendations varies widely by sexual orientation, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer. They found that those in sexual minority groups are nearly 50% less likely to have ever undergone a Pap test.

The researchers used data collected in the National Health Interview Survey from 18,637 natal females aged 21–65 without a history of hysterectomy who had reported their sexual orientation and Pap testing history. They estimated odds of those patients ever undergoing a Pap test by sexual orientation alone and with race and ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic).

They found that sexual minority individuals had 46% lower odds of ever undergoing Pap testing compared with heterosexual patients, particularly those who are non-Hispanic White or Hispanic. They found no screening differences between White heterosexual participants and Black sexual minority or Hispanic heterosexual patients.

“This research highlights the need to examine disparities at the intersection of multiple societally constructed identities,” the researchers said. “More work is needed to alleviate disparities, and future work should incorporate measures of systemic discrimination.”

Learn more about sexual orientation and cancer care in the Oncology Nursing Podcast Episode 211: Apply the LGBTQIA+ Lived Experience to Your Patient Interactions.