Chronic Health Conditions May Be Prevalent Among LGB Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors

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Investigators have found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescent and young adult cancer survivors in the United States may be more likely to report chronic health conditions compared with their LGB peers without a cancer diagnosis and heterosexual counterparts with a history of cancer, according to a new study published by Berkman et al in Cancer.

Previous studies have shown that minority sexual orientation and gender identity individuals may have a higher likelihood of developing chronic conditions—including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, strokes, diabetes, lung disease, and kidney disease—than heterosexual individuals.

Study Methods and Results

In the new study, the investigators used the 2013 to 2020 National Health Interview Survey to assess the burden of chronic health conditions among 170 LGB adolescent and young adult cancer survivors aged 15 to 39 years at diagnosis, 1,700 LGB individuals without a history of cancer, and 1,700 heterosexual cancer survivors.

The investigators discovered that 71.0% of the LGB cancer survivors reported at least one chronic health condition compared with 51.0% of the LGB individuals without a history of cancer 59.0% of the heterosexual cancer survivors. Further, 21.0%, 7.7%, and 15.1% of the respective LGB cancer survivors, LGB individuals without a history of cancer, and heterosexual cancer survivors reported more than two chronic health conditions. The elevated risk of chronic health conditions were seen for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and pulmonary disease.

After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, the LGB cancer survivors had a 2.45-times and 2.16-times higher risk of experiencing chronic health conditions compared with LGB individuals without a history of cancer and heterosexual cancer survivors, respectively.


“This study highlights significant health disparities that affect the LGB cancer survivor community and points to the need for specialized care and attention for these [patients] during and after their cancer treatment to address their heightened risk of chronic health issues,” underscored senior study author Michael E. Roth, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “This could hopefully lead to more equitable health care for sexual and gender minority populations,” he concluded. 

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.