Men and cancer

Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. Research suggests however, that gay men are sometimes at higher risks from some cancers because of their sexual orientation.

This is because sometimes because they do not respond to preventative health care messages because those messages are not targeted at them, or do not disclose their sexual orientation to their GP and therefore do not receive appropriate information. Research also suggests that there is an increased risk of some cancers, such as lung cancer and cancer of the liver because of lifestyle and social issues (see pages on smoking, alcohol, and drug use). Gay men are also at increased risk from testicular cancer because they do not respond to the same extent to preventative health messages or campaigns.

Limited research also suggests that gay men are more at risk from anal cancer and prostate cancer. All age groups of sexually active, HIV-negative men who have sex with men have a high prevalence of anal cancer precursors, which may reflect their ongoing sexual exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV), and which may explain high rates of anal cancer.


  • Anorectal cytology as a screening tool for anal squamous lesions: cytologic, anoscopic, and histologic correlation M Friedlander, E Stier, O Lin (2004)
  • Preneoplastic anal lesions and anal canal carcinoma C Ortholan, E Francois, J Gerard (2003)
  • HIV associated anal cancer and anal intraepithelial neoplasma
     M Bower (2004)
  • Cancer in a population-based cohort of men and women in registered homosexual partnerships Screening and therapy of anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) and anal carcinoma in patients with HIV-infection A Kreuter, G Reimann, S Esser,Rasokat, H, Hartmann, M, Swoboda, J, Conant, M, Tschachler, E, Arasteh, K, Altmeyer, P, Brockmeyer, N M Frisch, E Smith, A Grulich,Johansen, C (2003)


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