Healthcare providers enlighten doctors and patients about transgender screening procedures for breast cancer

October 25, 2022 : Occasionally transgender patients don’t know if they should get examined for breast cancer—but sometimes the doctors and mammography technicians don’t know, either, expressed one health provider working to support change things.

“Many providers just were not sure,” stated Nicole Owens, a mammography technical consultant for Allina Health. “If the providers weren’t sure, and the patients are not sure, and the mammo techs aren’t sure, there’s this major question mark over everybody’s head.”

Allina and other providers have created a guideline for who should get screened for breast cancer and other common illnesses.

“The present guideline that Allina Health is using is if a person has assumed feminizing hormones for over five years, they should be then be screened at the same standard interval that patients that are born as female are screened,” stated Owens. She said the goal is to enlighten as many providers and patients as possible to ensure everyone remains on top of catching preventative conditions in a timely fashion.

Too often, she spoke, transgender patients—including men and women—were worried about getting screened for various reasons.

“To see patients physically sick and worried and in tears about having this exam I’m usually excited about offering to people really made me redirect the way that I approach my job,” Owens said. She’s supported by advisory committees made up of providers and transgender patients to keep spreading the word and educating as many people as possible.

Owens also expressed many transgender men should consider screenings, particularly if they have not had any surgery to decrease the breasts they were born as females with.

“Now has it has evolved something almost traumatic for these patients to get that body part examined–a body part they’re completely attached to, even sometimes ashamed of,” she expressed.