Cancer in the bisexual communities

BCN 123 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 123, February 2014

Nickie reports on working with the Macmillan Cancer Care and Lesbian and Gay Foundation Joint Task Force

I joined this task force last year as the sole bi representative in a group of around 12 LGB people, all of whom had experience either of having cancer themselves or of having it in their families.  The aim of the group is to explore whether and how being LGB or T affects our experience of cancer and how we are treated, with a view to improving patient experience.

I myself am a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed and treated almost five years ago with no recurrences, thank goodness.  I can take my own experiences to the group, but they are just my own experiences, and I really do appreciate it every time someone shares something with me that I can pass on (anonymously!) to the task force.  One of the tasks we are engaging in with Macmillan at the moment is compiling an “Emerging Picture” document to be used with hospital staff and patients, documenting the issues that arise for LGBT people affected by cancer. The more feedback we have the richer that emerging picture can become.

We have met twice now and meet again in February.  At our last meeting we discussed creation of an LGBT group in the Macmillan Online Communities.  We have already discovered some issues unique to LGB people – issues which might not be understood in general groups, so if this initiative interests you, please keep a lookout for the new group when it emerges.
We also discussed our roles and remits – and bringing involvement from others in our communities is, for me, an important part of this.

There was some talk of possibly recruiting further members – so if you would like to get involved in that way it may not be too late.

For further information about the Task Force, please contact Selina Mehra: SMehra@macmillan.org.uk

If you have personal stories/issues you would like to share without passing them via me, please send them to Robin Maginn: RMaginn@macmillan.org.uk

Alternatively, please do get in touch with me, nickie@meeble.net, and/or join the Yahoo Group I set up to help us at health.groups.yahoo.com/group/BiCanUK/

Thank you to all who have already been involved in this work. I know from personal experience that I don’t like having to think about it when I don’t have to, so I am really grateful when anyone does feel able to pass things on that will help others in the future.

Nickie