Don Dizon, MD on the experiences of gay and transgender cancer patients

Don Dizon, MD, shines a light on the intimidating experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cancer patients, retracing this experience from diagnosis throughout treatment and continuing into symptom management.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Don Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, Director of Female Cancers at Lifespan Cancer Institute, Director of Medical Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, focuses on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients with cancer and the negative interactions that may impact their experience of cancer care.


What people might not realize, especially my colleagues, is that anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans[gender], every time they meet a new doctor, there’s that anxious moment of, “Should I be dating this person?” Will they ask me? What will the repercussions be if I do? ‘ Now imagine that someone is being treated for cancer, which today is a treated multidisciplinary disease. You don’t just meet with an oncologist; you meet nurses, infusion staff, navigators, [and] medical assistants, in addition to a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and even a surgeon. All these points in time, do you need to get out? It is really quite intimidating. All you need is an event where [patient] was treated with disrespect and that can color the whole experience of that person. And not in a good way.

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