Meaningful support for lesbian and bisexual women navigating reproductive cancer care in Canada: An exploratory study

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Abstract

Health inequities for sexual minorities are well documented, but there is a gap in nursing research addressing the specific experiences faced by lesbian and bisexual women with reproductive cancers. This critical feminist study explored interactions between sexual minority women with reproductive cancers and their health care providers and how these interactions enable and create barriers to meaningful support. Purposeful convenience sampling was used to recruit lesbian and bisexual reproductive cancer survivors from Ontario, Canada and providers who have cared for this population. Five lesbian and one bisexual woman who were reproductive cancer survivors participated, as well as one registered nurse who was not a survivor but who has cared for sexual minority women with reproductive cancers. Face-to-face interviews were conducted and conventional content analysis was used to analyze the data. The authors report on findings related to meaningful support, interactions with providers and organisational environments. Narratives showed that an understanding of gender norms influenced women's perceptions of supportive and inclusive care, such as the acknowledgment of social supports and barriers to supportive care that included disclosure of sexual orientation. There are implications for nursing education and policy change to enhance inclusive interactions and environments for diverse sexual minority women with reproductive cancers.

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