Friday, February 5, 2016

Disparities by Sexual Orientation in Frequent Engagement in Cancer-Related Risk Behaviors: A 12-Year Follow-Up

We examined sexual-orientation disparities in frequent engagement in cancer-related risk indicators of tobacco, alcohol, diet and physical activity, ultraviolet radiation, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

We used longitudinal data from the national Growing Up Today Study (1999-2010). Of the analytic sample (n = 9958), 1.8% were lesbian or gay (LG), 1.6% bisexual (BI), 12.1% mostly heterosexual (MH), and 84.5% completely heterosexual (CH).

More sexual minorities (LGs, BIs, and MHs) than CHs frequently engaged in multiple cancer-related risk behaviors (33%, 29%, 28%, and 19%, respectively). Sexual-minority young women, especially BI and MH, more frequently engaged over time in substance use and diet and physical activity risk than CH women. More young gay than CH men frequently engaged over time in vomiting for weight control (odds ratio [OR] = 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1, 9.4), being physically inactive (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.2, 2.4), and using tanning booths (OR = 4.7; 95% CI = 3.0, 7.4), and had a higher prevalence of ever having an STI (OR = 3.5; 95% CI = 2.0, 6.4). Individual analyses were generally comparable to the group-level analyses.

Young sexual minorities are at risk for cancer through frequent exposure to cancer-related risk behaviors over time. Long-term, longitudinal studies and surveillance data are essential and warranted to track frequent engagement in the risk behaviors and cancer-related morbidity and mortality.

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  • 1Margaret Rosario is with Department of Psychology, City University of New York-City College and Graduate Center, New York, NY. Fei Li and David Wypij are with Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), Boston, MA. David Wypij, Brittany M. Charlton, A. Lindsay Frazier, and S. Bryn Austin are with Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston. David Wypij is also with Department of Cardiology, Boston's Children's Hospital, Boston. Andrea L. Roberts is with Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, HSPH. Heather L. Corliss is with Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Brittany M. Charlton and S. Bryn Austin are also with Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital. A. Lindsay Frazier is also with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, and Department of Epidemiology, HSPH. A. Lindsay Frazier and S. Bryn Austin are also with Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, HMS. 
  •  2016 Jan 21:e1-e9. 

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