Breast Cancer and Transgender People
At Lady McAdden the majority of our clients are women, but this doesn’t mean that breast cancer only affects women. While the risk of breast cancer is lower in men, transgender women and transgender men, it is still just as important to know how to check and look for signs of breast cancer.
A study in The Netherlands in 2019 found that transgender women (people assigned male at birth but identify and live as women) had a higher risk of breast cancer than cisgender men (people assigned male at birth and identify and live as men). In the study, 15 cases of invasive breast cancer were detected from a total of 2260 transgender women, compared with 0.32 expected cases among cisgender men. Taking a feminising hormone can increase the risk of breast cancer for transgender women, but the increase in risk is small. While a transgender woman taking these hormones may have a higher risk of breast cancer than a cisgender man, it is important to note that 15 is still a small number of cases and transgender women in the study had a lower risk of breast cancer than cisgender women (people assigned female at birth and identify and live as women). The study also found that transgender men (people assigned female at birth but identify and live as men) had a lower breast cancer risk than cisgender women.
Whatever the risk, it is important to attend screening for breast cancer. The NHS breast screening programme offers mammograms to transgender men who haven’t had a mastectomy and to transgender women. However, you will only be called routinely for screening if you are registered as female with your GP. If you would like to check this or change the gender you are registered as, you can contact your GP to arrange this. If you don’t wish to be called for screening, you can contact your local screening service and choose to opt out.
Whether you identify as cisgender, transgender or non-binary, it is important to know how to check your breasts and to be aware of any changes such as:
Lumps and bumps
Hardening or thickening of the breast
Redness or rashes
Dimpling or puckering
Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
Crusting of the nipple
Sudden changes to size or position of the breast
Lumps behind the nipple
If you would like any further advice on breast health then please don’t hesitate to contact us at https://ladymcadden.org/contact/
You can also find useful information about screening for transgender people here