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Beyond Mammograms: Tackling Healthcare Disparities for All


Ages when Mammograms Stop in Western Nations

The recent letters to the Editor in The Times highlighting limited access to mammograms and pap smears for older women rightly sparked an important conversation. But healthcare disparities extend far beyond this single issue, impacting not just older women but also marginalised communities – including transgender individuals – across the age spectrum.


Facts that Matter:

  • Cancer Risk and Screening: While statistics often focus on men’s health issues like prostate cancer, it’s crucial to remember that breast cancer remains a significant health concern for women and transgender individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB). Early detection saves lives, yet access to mammograms, especially for older women and certain trans communities, falls short compared to readily available male-centric screenings.

  • Beyond Gender Disparity: The healthcare landscape disproportionately disadvantages marginalised groups like transgender individuals. A 2021 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 29% of transgender respondents avoided seeking healthcare due to fear of discrimination, highlighting the systemic barriers they face.

  • Impact Beyond Health: Unequal access to healthcare doesn’t just impact individuals; it has wider societal consequences. A 2023 McKinsey report estimates that closing the gender gap in healthcare could add $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Similarly, addressing healthcare disparities for marginalised groups can increase productivity, innovation, and overall well-being.


It is worth noting that there is no routine screening for Prostate Cancer, unlike mammograms, which are stopped at a certain age. Instead, individual assessment for prostate screening is done after the age of 70. Unfortunately, individual assessments related to mammograms are not available to marginalised people, including women, trans+ people, non-binary individuals, and gender non-conforming people.


Moving Forward:

Addressing these disparities requires more than just statistics. It demands a critical look at underlying societal biases and a commitment to systemic change.

  • Beyond “Not All Men”: Recognising the reality of gender-based and systemic biases, even if not experienced by every individual, is crucial. Dismissing concerns with “not all men” ignores the broader picture and individual experiences.

  • Active Listening and Advocacy: Men and members of other privileged groups can play a vital role by actively listening to and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities, advocating for policies that promote equal access to healthcare, and challenging discriminatory practices.

  • Intersectional Approach: A singular focus on “women’s health” risks overlooking the unique challenges faced by transgender individuals who also require breast cancer screenings and other gender-affirming healthcare. Intersectional approaches that recognise the overlapping experiences of different marginalised groups are crucial for comprehensive solutions.


Remember: This is about ensuring everyone, regardless of gender identity, age, or other defining factors, can thrive in a healthcare system prioritising their well-being. By working together and adopting an inclusive lens, we can build a future where healthcare disparities are dismantled, not perpetuated.


Online Petitions you can add your voice to.

Continue to invite women over the age of 71 for routine mammograms


Empower Women to Request Smear Tests and Mammograms at Their Discretion:


 

With over 25 years of dedicated leadership in the corporate, feminist, and LGBTQ+ realms, with a profound commitment to LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, I’m thrilled to be recognised by the British Diversity Awards. I stand ready to support, consult, educate, and advise on your next diversity challenge. Your journey towards inclusivity begins with a conversation. Reach out to me at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com with any inquiries.

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